According to a recent study, elephants and tigers have emerged as the most desired animals for Brits hoping to witness them in their natural habitats. The research, conducted by Audley Travel, also identified lions and dolphins as highly sought-after wildlife encounters among the British population.
In addition to the aforementioned animals, giraffes and giant pandas were among the other captivating creatures that Brits dream of encountering in the wild. Surprisingly, polar bears and kangaroos also secured spots in the top 10 list.
While an overwhelming 87 percent of the 2,000 adults surveyed expressed a desire to witness wildlife in its natural environment, the study uncovered a significant knowledge gap when it comes to understanding the typical locations where these animals can be found.
Startlingly, nearly a third (29 percent) of respondents expressed a wish to see whales in their natural habitat, but 26 percent mistakenly believed that the Arctic was the prime location for spotting humpback whales. In reality, these majestic creatures are more likely to be found in Hawaii, where they gather during their breeding season.
Furthermore, 28 percent of participants wrongly believed that the blue whale, the largest whale species, frequently visits the UK. In truth, there has been only one recorded sighting of a blue whale in British waters, as they are most commonly found in the southern hemisphere.
The study also revealed that almost half (48 percent) of respondents believed that wild tigers roam Africa. However, tigers are native to India. Similarly, a third of participants thought that Emperor penguins inhabit the Arctic, when in fact they exclusively reside in the Antarctic.
Despite these misconceptions, 38 percent of those surveyed claimed to possess accurate knowledge regarding the best place and time of year to encounter their favorite animal in the wild. Furthermore, they expressed willingness to travel up to 12 hours in pursuit of these unforgettable experiences.
Interestingly, crocodiles were voted among the most popular animals to see, although 44 percent of respondents were confused about the distinctions between crocodiles and their alligator counterparts. Crocodiles are known for their preference for saltwater environments, while alligators have a more curved snout and are typically found in freshwater habitats.
Furthermore, the study found that an overwhelming 77 percent of participants viewed the opportunity to see certain animals in the wild as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Audley Travel, the organization behind the research, aims to inspire future wildlife trips by providing a wildlife quiz to test individuals’ knowledge of the natural world. Richard Wise, the head of concierge and spokesperson for Audley Travel, expressed his enthusiasm for the value placed by people on observing animals in their natural habitats. He emphasized how such travel supports Conservation efforts and aids in the thriving of wildlife populations.
Wise stated, “Whether you aspire to explore the Galapagos Islands, witness polar bears congregating around the icy waters of Hudson Bay, or embark on an African safari in search of the Big Five, the first step is knowing the animals’ natural habitats.”
The top 20 animals that Brits desire to see in the wild, as revealed by the study, include elephants, tigers, dolphins, lions, whales, giant pandas, giraffes, penguins, polar bears, kangaroos, zebras, gorillas, cheetahs, rhinos, brown bears, chimpanzees, hippos, giant tortoises, turtles, and sharks.
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This article by Trinity Sparke was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 13 July 2023.
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