Carnivores such as pumas, jaguars, and ocelots have roamed the neotropical forests of Central America for millennia. Enshrined in the myths of the ancient Maya, they still inspire awe in the region's current inhabitants, as well as in the ecotourists and researchers who come to experience Central America's diverse and increasingly endangered natural environment.
This book is one of the first field guides dedicated to the carnivores of Central America. It describes the four indigenous families -- wild cats, raccoons and their relatives, skunks and their relatives, and wild canids -- and their individual species that live in the region. The authors introduce each species by recounting a first-person encounter with it, followed by concise explanations of its taxonomy, scientific name, English and Spanish common names, habitat, natural history, and conservation status. Range maps show the animal's past and current distribution, while Claudia Nocke's black-and-white drawings portray it visually.
The concluding chapter looks to the carnivores' future, including threats posed by habitat destruction and other human activities, and describes some current conservation programs. Designed for citizens of and visitors to Central America, as well as specialists, this book offers an excellent introduction to a group of fascinating, threatened, and still imperfectly understood animals.
The authors have studied Central American carnivores for many years. Carlos L. de la Rosa is Director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies' Riverwoods Field Laboratory in south Florida, where Claudia C. Nocke is currently working on a Ph.D.