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More Than a Picture Book,
This review is from: The Wild Shores of Patagonia: The Valdes Peninsula & Punta Tombo (Hardcover)
In most coffee table books about wildlife, the text serves a minor role compared to the photographs. Reading this book, I was delighted to find that Jasmine Rossi, a talented amateur with no previous books to her credit, actually wrote a fascinating set of portraits of the birds and mammals of the Valdes Peninsula and Punta del Tombo in the State of Chubut, Argentina.
As this area is now one of the major eco-tourist destinations in all of Latin America, this book was badly needed. Graham Harris's A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS AND MAMMALS OF COASTAL PATAGONIA is hard to find and is considerably more dry.
Although she skimps a bit on the bird life, Rossi wrote a wonderful chapter on the Magellanic Penguins which obviously owed a lot to close observation. Particularly affecting was the story of a penguin couple whom she names José and Maria who hatch two eggs. The chick born first grows more quickly and has better access to food, forcing his younger and smaller sibling to attempt to steal food from an adjoining couple, at which point the interloper is pecked to death by the offended mother.
Other particularly detailed chapters deal with the whales, sea lions, elephant seals, and orcas that make the peninsula their home. Also of interest is the last chapter, in which the author describes her experiences in the writing of this book.
This book provides not only a superb set of photographs of Patagonian wildlife, but vignettes on their behavior, breeding habits, enemies, and the toll, if any, that human tourism takes on the species.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in the subject.
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