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Review a book exploring attitudes to the natural environment and/or concepts of wilderness and wildlife.

Ecotourism has become evermore popular since the late 1980s, with it being arguably the fastest growing of all sub-sectors in the tourism industry (Cater, 1993). As ecotourism grew, the number of books about this particular branch of tourism also increased. Whiteman (1996) found that "when properly managed, ecotourism offers excellent wilderness experiences while contributing to the preservation of natural and historic places". Wilderness, at the simplest level, can be defined as a natural environment that has not been modified by human activity.

'Belize and Northern Guatemala' by Lee Beletsky (Beletsky, 1998), endorsed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, illustrates the common wildlife of Belize and Guatemala and provides information on their identification, location, conservation and ecology. Large areas of these countries can be classed as "wilderness" areas. 47.5% of Belize is classed as a protected area, with 15.5% being conserved purely for being a wilderness area. Likewise, 25.3% of Guatemala is classed as a protected area, with 8.48% of the country being conserved as a wilderness area (World Resources Institute, 2007).

A particularly useful part of the book is that the index is split into two parts: a species and a general index. This is very rare to see outside of science textbooks, or specialist identification books. This makes referencing anything in the book much easier and saves time: something which becomes very important when trying to determine the wildlife one is viewing when out on a tour.

The only major problem with the book is surprisingly, the fact that ecologically sound travel tips (such as general rules and ecologically friendly holiday providers) are omitted. It is questionable as to why this has been missed out, as learning how to travel responsibly is as important as knowing what one can see whilst travelling. There could be an extra chapter covering the eco-friendly tour operators and hotels of the two countries, as the type of people who purchase this book would be more likely to be interested in this branch of business. It would be an excellent addition to chapter two. Nevertheless, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone who is looking to learn about the wildlife of Belize and Guatemala, from scientists to the general public. Its relatively compact size, the wide variety of topics it explores and the user-friendly language makes it a valuable resource for anyone that is travelling through these countries.

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