The island’s first-ever wildlife guide showcases St. Martin’s unique natural heritage

Author Mark Yokoyama hopes to inspire and raise awareness with The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin

GRAND CASE – February 21, 2011 – Mark Yokoyama spent over a year hiking, researching, and photographing animals all over the island to create the very first guide to the natural life of St. Martin/St. Maarten. The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin features over 450 full-color photos and hundreds of species, some of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The guide includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders, terrestrial mollusks and other invertebrates. It is scientifically rigorous, but written to be entertaining and accessible to everyone. 

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"This is a very special place, with a truly astonishing variety of life," comments Yokoyama, "and actually documenting what’s here is a necessary first step to preserving it." Local experts agree, such as Manager of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation Tadzio Bervoets, who is thrilled that the book dovetails so neatly with the Foundation’s mission: "We hope that awareness of our unique terrestrial biology helps efforts to establish terrestrial conservation areas."

"It’s important to protect not just the natural world itself, but also the cultural knowledge about it," says Yokoyama, "because that is disappearing, too." He interviewed native St. Maarteners/St. Martiners so the guide could provide local names (in addition to common and scientific names) for as much of the wildlife as possible, as well as any cultural information or beliefs available about the animals. Christophe Henocq, Director of the Association Archéologique Hope Estate, notes: "Mark Yokoyama’s endeavors documenting natural heritage complement our work documenting the history and archaeology of the island."


Yokoyama has donated copies of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library and the Reference Library at the St. Maarten Museum. His future goals for the book include a French translation, and he is currently seeking funding to get a copy in every classroom on the island.

The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin is available on, and at the St. Maarten Museum in Philipsburg, the Musée de Saint Martin in Marigot, the St. Maarten Zoo Gift Shop, At Books End, and Shipwreck Shops.

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About Mark Yokoyama

Nature photographer Mark Yokoyama is an avid entomologist and former president of the Oregon Entomological Society. His interest in zoology was re-awakened when he co-founded the world’s first extreme shallow snorkeling team, Les Fruits de Mer, in 2008. He holds a degree from Harvard University, and currently resides on the island, where he has explored a significant portion of the land and surrounding waters.