China – New Version of an Old Field Guide
Well oldish anyway … Murray Lord let me know that the really excellent 2008 guide to the Mammals of China (Princeton) by Smith and Xie has just been released as a pocket field guide (my version is pretty chunky). This is the only guide to all the mammals of China. The illustrations and accounts seem excellent with enough information to identify just about any species encountered though it would be good to hear what Coke Smith and other China experts think.
Hi Tess, sorry I don’t really know. The amazon is expensive unfortunately. I’ve heard this place might be good http://www.shiripunolodge.com/ and it may be a bit cheaper too. But I don’t know more. Otherwise maybe you should go instead to Colombia and to Leticia in the south. The Palmari Lodge (in Brazil but best reached from Leticia) was very affordable and also has some brilliant animals. Send a trip report please.
I was in Shiripuno in February 2010 (should make a report of that Ecuador-trip – we saw Spectacled bear in Mindo :-)), and it indeed is a great place (and not as expensive as the other lodges in Ecuador). We were there mainly for birds, but also saw the following mammals: Common squirrel monkey, Red howler monkey, White-tailed titi monkey, Paca, Poeppig’s woolly-monkey, Spix’s night monkey, White-bellied spider monkey, Red brocket and Northern amazon red squirrel (and some unidientified mice and bats). Also tracks of Capybara, Lowland tapir (the boat coming out before us had one crossing the river as they passed) and both Peccaries. Someone else also saw one of the river dolphins (cant’ remember which one) when we were there. There should be a salt lick that can be visited too.
I’ve got the original, hardback version, and its a very impressive piece of work. Good quality illustrations and detailed text. My only problem is with the maps. These don’t show the current range, but rather the historical range, prior to ‘any recent contraction of the range due to anthropogenic factors’ as they put it. This little nugget is tucked away in the introduction (I’ve started to read such things now that I have to write one myself), though I would suggest is a pretty important point, given that ‘anthropogenic factors’ in China have been in the ‘fairly dramatic’ category. Imagine picking up a field guide to the mammals of North America and finding out that the ranges are from 150 years ago. They do at least mention if a species is now believed to be extinct in China. So good on the id front, but not so useful as a tool to plan where to visit to see particular species.
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I think what you are doing is amazing, my fiance and I do something similar ourselves.
May we tap on your mammal watching worldwide expertise.. We are visiting Quito, Ecuador to see Ecuadorian mammals and are planning to fly to Coca and visit Yasuni National Park. So we had a look at your page on Coca. It was very helpful.
We are having difficulty finding something animal oriented among the expensive luxury cultural tours and lodges on offer. We want to find a private affordable mammal watching tour and lodging for less than 1000 for 2 persons.
Do you know of any contacts? What lodge would you recommend?