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Ecuador and Its Galapagos Islands: Ecotraveller's Wildlife Guide Paperback – 30 Nov 1999

4 customer reviews

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Paperback, 30 Nov 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press Inc (30 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0120848147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0120848140
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 13.8 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 699,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guides have been hailed an "excellent series" by Birding World and an "inspired new concept in the field-guide genre" by Birding magazine.

About the Author

David L. Pearson is a Research Professor in the Department of Biology at Arizona State University. He has studied habitats from desert grasslands and coral atolls to tropical rain forests and has written more than 75 scientific articles.

Les Beletsky is a professional wildlife biologist and university zoology teacher. He is the author of numerous wildlife guides including Costa Rica in the same series. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Ecotourism or ecotravel is travel to (usually exotic) destinations specifically to admire and enjoy wildlife and undeveloped, relatively undisturbed natural areas, as well as indigenous cultures. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By on 5 Nov. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was very useful in identifying wildlife in Ecuador and it was nice to have one book with a selection of amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and even a few invertebrates rather than carrying lots of different books. It is a good size to carry when travelling and the text is much more interesting than in your average field guide and a good introduction to the ecology of Ecuador. However there are so many different species in Ecuador that unsurprisingly it can sometimes be frustrating when you can't even identify an incredibly colourful bird using this book. There are about 1,600 species of birds in Ecuador and only 350 or so in this book! So if you are very serious about your birding I would recommend Birds of Columbia (until Birds of Ecuador is published, it is apparently on the way). However then you will need a separate mammal, amphibian, reptile guide as well if you are interested. I haven't been to the Galapagos, but I believe that there are quidebooks that cover all the species found there which are probably more useful than this one.
However all in all I would highly recommend this book for a holiday to Ecuador as long as you are not obsessed with identifying everything you see to species. On the whole, most animals you will see will be the more common ones and therefore will be found in this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Frogvet on 22 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book, as I imagine most do, just before heading off on my dream holiday to Ecuador and the Galapagos. We visited mountains, cloud forest, amazon rainforest and the Galapagos and I wanted a book to cover it all for mammals, birds and lower vertebrates. In principle that is what I got, the information on habitats and the basic ID's for most species were there, all in one portable book.
However, I felt let down by the generalness of the species ID section, it really needs to be bigger. I am not a die hard birder/biologist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to actually have some scope in which to identify common species and I found myself time and again putting this book aside to borrow other material from the lodges/hotels and other travellers, which was a shame. If I went again, I would not take this book with me.
It still gets 3 stars as the information it contains is interesting and it is by no means a bad book, just didn't do what I wanted it for well enough!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs C Maule on 5 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Bought this book in preparation for a trip to Ecaudor/Galapagos. The pictures and information is great. The only drawback is that it's a big book and quite heavy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M Hossman on 5 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This was a very disappointing buy and in 5 weeks in Ecuador I found it useful once. I would not recommend it to knowledgeable naturalists or beginners.

As a general ecological guide to Ecuador it provides little information specific to the region, but has over 300 pages of patronising and very basic text on, for example, why a whale is classified as a whale.

I wanted a field guide to the wildlife of Ecuador, including birds as i didnt want to carry the comprehensive and very heavy bird guide. However, the photographic images are of very poor quality and the drawn plates are sometimes rather ambiguous. Additionally, the authors seem to have chosen the included wildlife completely at random; many of the commoner species are not included, yet very rare or elusive species were.

Needless to say - it was not worth the baggage weight and was left behind.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Color Plates with a thorough, yet readable text 29 Jun. 2002
By David Graham - Published on
Format: Paperback
A layman needs a good guide when on tour of a new territory, whether that be a museum, a literary genre, or a country's heritage. In David Pearson's and Les Beletsky's 485 page ECUADOR and its GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, they present a book that is as good a guide as a layman could hope for, not just for exploring Ecuador or its Galapagos Islands, but for getting to know much of the fauna of Amazonian Latin America. The text is professionally written, yet down to earth and not infrequently humorous. The famous entomologist J. Henri Fabre once wrote, "Others again have reproached me with my style, which has not the solemnity, nay, better, the dryness of the schools. They fear lest a page that is read without fatigue should not always be the expression of the truth. Were I to take their word for it, we are profound only on condition of being obscure." This approach to scientific writing - being informative without being pedantic - allows writers like Pearson and Beletsky to fill the reader's heart with wonder while still often bringing a smile to his/her face.
With Ecuador being one of the most biologically diverse countries on earth, it is impossible to create a book that is both comprehensive and brief. The authors have gone for middle ground, covering the portion of Ecuadorian wildlife that is of interest and/or likely to be spotted by the ecotraveller to Ecuador. There are 96 color plates (with 5-6 animals illustrated on each one), several pages of color photographs, an excellent chapter - with maps - of Ecuador's National Parks and Bioreserves, a section on Ecuador's geography and habitats (e.g., Lowland Wet Forest, Mangrove and Coastal Vegetation) along with drawings illustrating several major plants in these regions, and 200 pages of animal descriptions under the headings 'Amphibians', 'Reptiles', 'Birds', 'Mammals', 'Insects & Other Arthropods', and 'Galapagos Wildlife'.
As an Ecuadorian resident, I have found this guide to be an excellent aid to identifying and understanding the natural history of the country. The book was both informative and fun to read, and I can highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this wonderful area of the world.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Go go Galapagos! 28 July 2000
By L - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have just returned from those Enchanted Isles and found Beletsky's guide omnipresent, dog-eared and tightly clutched in the sea-salted hands of many a visitor. I am surprised that the Sea Lions and Blue Footed Boobies did not have their own copies!
This guide is a truly indispensible accessory for those fortunate enough to have visited those Islands of wonder and enchantment. It is also a great whetter of one's appetite! Other books have their strengths, but when push comes to shove, or in this case just going around..., one wants a thorough compliment to one's naturalist (to make all those notations when one gets back home, of course) and also a look into what is to come. Accurate and beautifully illustrated.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Adequate; but heavy, and short on Ecuador-specific info 12 Dec. 2012
By Jim M. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a pretty useful book and the only one in its niche that I am aware of. Others have described the good points (quality plates depicting the wildlife and thorough discussions of individual species), but I wanted to point out a few flaws.

First, for a book designed for travelers it is annoyingly heavy at 2.1 pounds. This meant that I left it at home when I took my trip.

Second, it has a surprisingly brief discussion of Ecuador's overall geography and natural environment. A mere five and a half pages are devoted to this topic (an additional six and a half pages are devoted to describing specific habitat types, but most of this text is a user unfriendly list of descriptions of plant species associated with each habitat type).

Third, the weight of the book is particularly annoying because it includes a considerable amount of generic information that seems to be taken from a textbook but seems unnecessary in a travelers guide. For example, there are sections discussing "What Is Natural History?", "What is Ecology and What Are Ecological Interactions?", and "General Characteristics and Classification of Mammals".

Fourth, the detailed descriptions of all the species covered are in a different section of the book than the plates. This means that you have to flip back and forth between the plates and the text if you want to see the animals you are reading about.

Finally, though much of the book is devoted to discussion and depiction of birds, the list of "References and Additional Reading" oddly omits what is indisputably the best current field guide to the birds of Ecuador: "The Birds of Ecuador", vol II by Robert S. Ridgely & Paul J. Greenfield (2001). In fact, it omits a reference to any field guide to Ecuador's birds but does puzzlingly include a reference to a field guide to the birds of Costa Rica.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Great for Ecotourist 10 Aug. 2007
By M. Shick - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book was one used by my guide during a recent trip to the Ecuadorian
Selva. I purchased it on my return home and transfered my field notes to the pages with the appropriate birds and animals I had the pleasure to see. I have enjoyed reading the addition info the book provides and it will help preserve my experience for myself and others.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Wildlife Guide 16 Jan. 2011
By comingmoon - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was the perfect guide of most of the animals: birds, reptiles, mammals & amphibians you will see in the Galapagos. The photo ID Plates were fantastic and the descriptions were complete for range and habitat. I also really enjoyed the paragraphs on the Natural History of the species so that I not only knew what I was seeing but background on that animal. If you can only take one book with you this is the one!!!
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