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Belize and Northern Guatemala: Ecotraveller's Wildlife Guide Paperback – 17 Nov 1998

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 17 Nov 1998
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Product details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press Inc (17 Nov. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0120848112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0120848119
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.7 x 2.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,391,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

As ecotourism booms, it is only natural that eco-themed guidebooks should boom alongside it. The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guides, endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Society and researched by professional biologists, are among the more credible brands in the swelling ecotravel ranks. The series provides an encyclopaedic introduction to Central America's flora and fauna, as well as a friendly primer on the principles of ecotourism. These rich ecological contexts are accompanied by hundreds of pictures and photographs.

The guides deliver solid science without being stilted or boring--sections have titles like "Avian Mating Systems and Birds That Cheat" and "Frugivory: Animals That Eat Fruit and the Trees That Want Them To". The one element that is in surprisingly short supply is ecologically sound travel tips, from general dos and don'ts to a list of ecologically responsible tour operators and other eco-friendly establishments in Belize. This is mildly discouraging, since learning howto travel responsibly is as important as knowing what you are going to see. But given the relative paucity of travel literature on Belize, Belize and Northern Guatemala: The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide proves a valuable resource for anyone curious about the natural wonders of this increasingly popular destination. --Andrew Nieland

From the Author

My comments describe this new series of travel books.
Even though I'm a professional wildlife biologist, I've always found it difficult while travelling to identify animals I'm not familiar with and to get good, on-site information about them, unless I'm with an expert guide or willing to lug around several heavy books (a bird book, a mammal book, etc.). I've produced the Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guides to help solve this problem. The books in the series are aimed at travellers with an interest in animals, at people for whom some of the best moments of any trip to places like Belize or Guatemala are unexpected encounters with birds and mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish and other marine organisms. You will find in these books information on (1) common animals likely to be seen, (2) those that are commonly pointed out by tour-guides and tourist literature, (3) some threatened ones that are, for example, subjects of conservation attention, and (4) some that are of special ecological significance. The books, endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, are real field guides, with extensive color artwork produced by some of the world's top wildlife artists. To give you an idea of the "depth" of coverage, the Belize/Guatemala book includes detailed information and color illustrations on 104 plates of about 210 bird species, 50 mammals, 80 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 150 coral reef fish and other marine organisms - the book truly covers most of the animals you might encounter in these countries. Additionally, initial chapters in each book introduce the country or region, its habitats and climate, its common trees and other plants, and describe conservation projects and ecotourism there, as well as major eco-attractions (national parks, nature reserves, etc.). My hopes are that these books will be put to good use in the field by ecotravellers, will make trips more enjoyable, and will assist in conservation in a small way by helping to educate people about the wildlife and habitats in the countries through which they travel.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Belize and Northeren Guatemala: The Ecotraveller's Wildlife Guide is one of the best travel books on these two Central American countries. Two of the most biodiverse and ecologically rich countries in the world, Belize and Guatemala are covered fully in this first-rate book. The book details types of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, and insects travellers can expect to encounter in each country. Types of plants are also included in the discussions of native flora and fauna. Additionally, the plates in the book, which show in pictures the different kinds of animals and plants, help the traveller identify what he or she encounters in the wild. This book is a beautifully-written, informative collection about beautiful, informative countries!
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The first half of the book is taken up with essay-like descriptions of everything in the book. Much useful information is therefore separated from the illustrations.
Once you get to the illustrations, those on one page are not to the same scale. The accompanying text is also jumbled up with, typically for a page of four illustrations, the image on the top right having its description on the bottom left of the facing page.
The illustrations are also fairly poor and, at times, seem as if they were drawn from skins rather than life.
I returned this book.
The advised companion volume "Helm Field Guide: Birds of Belize" is even worse with the plates occupying only a quarter of the book. Its illustration of an osprey looks nothing like the real bird. The weight/information ratio of this book is too high for it to be a useful field guide and so it will also be returned.
One positive aspect was Amazon's returns practice of Collect+ which enabled me to drop the book into the newsagency right next to my place of work.
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I purchased this book as it covered all possible wildlife in Belize and Guatemala, except butterflies. The pictures are superb, with very good descriptions for a beginner or expert in wildlife viewing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.3 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful approach to the region's natural history 6 Mar. 2015
By LexAlexia - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book to read before going to the area, for an overview of its natural history. Beletsky describes each group of animals, by family or other close relationship -- its characteristics, usual habitat(s), whether ground or tree-dwelling, life history, conservation status, etc. Then he picks out representative or common members of each group to illustrate in the color plates. Thus you can get to know the groups without being overwhelmed by the enormous numbers of species characteristic of the tropics. If you have a special interest, such as birds, you'll probably want a field guide as well, probably easier to carry & certainly including more species. You'll find yourself saying, for instance, "oh, that looks like a woodcreeper," & you'll know where to go in this book or another to figure out which one.

I did take the book along, too, on my trip to Belize and found that it included almost all the birds and animals I saw. The illustrations are excellent. And I loved consulting it at the end of the day to learn more about the marvelous creatures I'd seen. I wholeheartedly recommend this book as preparation for identifying birds & others and for going beyond ID to an understanding of how the animals fit in their habitat.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent overall guide of wildlife in Belize 14 Jun. 2010
By mdgirl76 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I debated between this book and the "Birds of Belize" field guide for my recent trip to Belize. I went with this one since I thought it would be nice to have a guide for wildlife other than birds and I was glad I chose this one. I used it quite a bit and was able to identify a lot of the wildlife I saw. I used it mostly for birds but I also used it to identify reptiles and some mammals.

The cons: It's a heavy book. About half of the book is text - an ecological background. I didn't read it and I'm sure there is interesting info in it but not what I want in a field guide. Either remove this portion of text and have the book lighter/smaller or replace it with more plates. The plates itself aren't the easiest to follow. The organization could be better. It would also have been good to have more clues on distinguishing features of the animals, especially when you are dealing with similar looking birds. A good bird guide will give you seasonal information. Also, there is no indication of size on any of the animals, which would be extremely useful.

That said, the pictures are good and for the most part, I was easily able to identify the wildlife I saw with a few flips through the book.
Overall, this book is a good purchase for the amateur wildlife enthusiast and it will enhance your experience while travelling through Belize.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good identification plates for common animals 15 Nov. 2013
By rachelc - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very happy I found this book before a recent trip to Belize. I was primarily looking for a light weight guide to birds and mammals- this book is pretty bulky, so I just cut the plates out and brought them with me. They seemed like a good representation of birds (I'm a pretty novice birder, so the more common ones were sufficient). I wished there was a bit more information with the plates- particularly about their calls and range. From what I browsed the text is well written and informative. I would recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the wildlife and ecology of belize, and bringing the plates for novice birders.
2.0 out of 5 stars This book was not very useful. It had very few birds and the color ... 14 Jan. 2016
By Jazmine - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was not very useful. It had very few birds and the color plates were not good representation of species. You had to locate the picture then locate section of book with that family of birds for the written information, which was often lacking important information. It is also not very well laid out. Listed no information on calls or variations. One of the worst books I have had in my travels as a biologist.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource! 28 Nov. 2016
By h.kosti - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Considering there aren't many decent resources out there on anything other than birds, this book is great! Hopefully people will publish more regionally specific guides such as this one. My only minor complaint is that the plates need more accurate colors in the illustrations.
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