The Best Books on Wildlife

General Interest Illustrated Guidebooks

Otters of the WorldOtters of the World - A wonderfully illustrated book describing all 13 of the world's otter species - including our own Algarve otter - Lutra lutra.

 What is it that makes otters so enchanting? Catch a glimpse of these extremely shy creatures, whether by accident or design, and we are immediately captivated - enslaved by their sweet faces and quirky behaviour.  Despite its endearing qualities, the otter is one of our most endangered mammals and is subject to numerous threats including hunting, pollution and habitat destruction to name but a few. Sadly conservation funding and effort to protect our otters is hard to come by, and their low visibility doesn’t help them in the fight for resources in which they compete with higher profile creatures such as elephants, tigers and pandas.

In this reverse world of familiarity breeding contempt, the publication of Otters of the World means that our lack of personal contact with them can no longer be a reason not to care. Written by conservationists who have spent 20 years working on otter species worldwide, this book is filled with fascinating facts about these enigmatic animals and their lifestyles.

With chapters on each of the 13 species of otters to be found around the world, and their struggle for survival, we can be left in no doubt that urgent action is required if we are to preserve otters for future generations to enjoy and value.  The chapter on otter rescue describes the challenges faced by otter conservationists, and the problems that otters confront when returned to the wild, particularly if they have had too much contact with humans during the rehabilitation period.

Even if we never encounter an otter in the wild, and feel powerless to assist directly with otter conservation, simply buying this most enjoyable and beautifully illustrated book, the proceeds of which will go to support the work of the International Otter Survival Fund, will make a difference.

For more information about Otter conservation......

Otters of the World by Paul Yoxon and Grace M. Yoxon (Whittles Publishing 2014) ISBN 978-1-84995-129-6, £18.99 available from www.whittlespublishing.com

Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales Vol 1Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales Vol 2Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales Vol 3Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales Vol4

Wonderful Wildflowers of Wales - Pat O'Reilly and Sue Parker

A set of introductory guides to the wildflowers of Wales. Highly readable, these books are the ideal way to learn more about the flora of Wales, to take home as a gift or a reminder of the unforgettable flowers that cannot be ignored on any spring or summer visit to Wales.

Each book describes, with colour photographs, the species found in particular habitats:

Volume 1 - Woodlands and Waysides

Volume 2 - Seashores and Coastal Cliffs

Volume 3 - Mountains, Meadows and Moorlands

Volume 4 - Waterside and Wetland.

Review extracts

A beautifully illustrated guide with more than 70 large colour photographs, including close-up photos and size guides, flowering season date strips, and a 'Dulux' colour chart index page to make species identification as straightforward as possible. "As someone with many years experience of photographing wild flowers in Wales I was impressed by the high quality of the photographs..."
- Extract from Review in Natur Cymru

Wild about the Wild

Wild about the Wild - Iolo Williams

Nobody knows more about wildlife in Wales than our top natural history Broadcaster - Iolo Williams. In this lovely diary he takes us on a year-long journey through Wales (and to some further-flung destinations) and shares with us his observations from autumn, through winter, and into spring and glorious summer.

Published by Gomer Press
ISBN 1-84323-458-0

Where to Watch Birds

Wales, Where to Watch Birds - David Saunders and Jon Green

Although predominantly about birds, this book is so much more. It certainly tells us about the top destinations in Wales for birdwatching, and what we might expect, or be lucky enough, to see when we get there, but it contains details about the habitats, flora and fauna, history and archaeology of the various sites, too. For anybody interested in the wildlife of Wales and where to see it, this book is an essential companion.

Published by Christopher Helm
ISBN 978-0-7136-7484-2

Plantlife of Snowdonia

The Plantlife of Snowdonia - Edited by Peter Rhind and David Evans

Whether you are a specialist or an amateur botanist you will find this book a fascinating insight to the plantlife of one of the richest botanical areas in the world. With chapters on ferns, fungi, mosses and liverworts among others, each written by an expert in the field, this book is not only authoritative and informative but a thoroughly enjoyable read, too.

Published by Gomer Press
ISBN 1-84323-044-5

Specialist Books

Graslands of Wales

Grasslands of Wales - D.P. Stevens, S.L.N. Smith, T.H. Blackstock, S.D.S. Bosanquet, J.P. Stevens

This book is the result of a survey of Lowland Species-rich Grasslands in Wales carried out between 1987 and 2004. It was prompted by the considerable shrinkage of such habitats resulting from the conversion of species-rich meadows and pastures in Wales to provide food and grazing for farm animals. The book provides an account of the survey's findings, and the subsequent protection measures undertaken to ensure the wellbeing of these precious habitats and the plants and animals that depend upon them for their survival. For those who want to understand why certain plants grow in particular places, this book can provide a lot of the answers.

Habitats of Wales

Habitats of Wales - T.H. Blackstock, E.A. Howe, J.P. Stevens, C.R. Burrows, P.S. Jones

Each part of Wales has its its own distinctive landscape characteristics, from mountains, sand dunes, grasslands, heaths, mires, woodlands and open moorlands. This book provides detailed information on the habitats of Wales and how they came to be as they are today, outlining the important influences that control them and shape their vegetation. This is an important resource for those who want to dig deeper into the landscape and geography of one of the most beautiful parts of Britain. It is a companion volume to Grasslands of wales, described above.

Mosses and Liverworts of Pembrokeshire

The Mosses and Liverworts of Pembrokeshire - Sam Bosanquet

Although it is primarily a county record, the ecology of bryophyte species is covered in great depth in this interesting and readable book. There are accounts for all of the 534 bryophyte species recorded in Pembrokeshire, along with comparisons with adjacent counties, and with more distant, but ecologically similar counties in North Wales and Cornwall. For experienced briologists this is a comprehensive guide of what to look out for and where on a visit to this area of Wales, and for beginners, it is an excellent place to start learning about these fascinating plants.

The Mosses and Liverworts of Carmarthenshire

The Mosses and Liverworts of Carmarthenshire - Sam Bosanquet, Jonathan Graham and Graham Motley

In this first published bryophyte flora of Carmarthenshire, over 600 species, sub-species and varieties of mosses, liverworts and hornworts have been recorded from the various habitats found in the county. The distribution of each species is described, and there are maps, notes on ecology, fertility and comparisons between nearby counties of Wales and other parts of the UK.

Wales is rich in bryophyte flora, and for anybody interested in the subject, this book will prove to be an invaluable guide on any visit to enjoy the nature of Southwest Wales.

Fungi of Northwest Wales

Fungi of Northwest Wales - Charles Aron

Wales is an excellent place to find fungi, and the Northwest is exceptionally rich in good fungi habitats, having extensive sand dune systems, various types of woodland, limestone grassland and heath, pasture, acid grassland and heath, bogs and fenland. This book is the result of 20 years of field and laboratory work and is the first comprehensive regional guide to the fungi of Wales.

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