For several years now, WILDGuides have been setting the standard for small, handy field guides that focus mainly on the identification of neglected groups of wildlife. Their approach is characterised by portability, the emphasis on visual utility (the use of computer enhanced photographs) and a significant contribution to conservation. The latter is achieved in two ways: firstly by getting these guides into the hands of the public at very competitive prices (WILDGuides is a non-profit publisher) and secondly by donating all profits to conservation organisations that work on the area or organisms treated by each guide.
Following on from the similar "Whales and Dolphins of the European Atlantic" (ISBN: 1903657008), this is the latest addition to the WILDGuides series and it immediately becomes the standard field guide to sea mammals of the northern Pacific from Baja California to south-east Alaska. It will be handy for any marine excursion, whether it be whale-watching in the Sea of Cortez, a pelagic trip off the California coast or an Alaskan cruise. The key to the guide's utility is the use of digitally-enhanced photographs that show cetaceans as the observer encounters them. Thus there are comparative photographs of whale flukes, fins, blows and breaching, sequences of whales surfacing, and shots of the smaller species porpoising. In addition, there are full-body illustrations of all species and a concise, practical text to help clinch identification.
And since WILDGuides is a non-profit organisation that supports conservation throughout the world, you are helping ensure that the wildlife you enjoy today will still be there for others to enjoy tomorrow. In this case, profits from the book go to the American Cetacean Society.
This will definitely be along on my next trip to Alaska! Highly recommended for beginners and experts alike.
Chris Sharpe, 5 May 2008. ISBN: 1903657059