Sunday, February 20, 2011

Last Chance to See

Last Chance to SeeBy Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine
Paperback : 256 Pages
October 13, 1992

In 1988, writer Douglas Adams teamed up with zoologist Mark Carwardine to travel the word and see some of its rarest and most spectacular animals. Their journey was made into BBC radio series, as well as a book that Adams penned.

In Last Chance to See, we follow these two as they search for the Aye-aye, the Kakapo, the Northern White Rhino, the Baiji, the Komodo Dragon, Mountain Gorilla, and the Rodrigues Fruit Bat. These are all species that were down to scarily low numbers.

Fact : The Kakapo is the cutest bird.
While the material is now dated*,  the book was a delight to read. I'm a big fan of Adams and his Hitchhiker's Guide series, and the book reads with his same voice and sense of humor. It's amazingly entertaining, on top of being an informative work on some of the most critically endangered species of the time.

Not too long ago, Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine went back and revisited some of the animals from the original 1988 trip (Adams died in 2001), this time making a video documentary series. I'm seriously considering buying the DVD off Amazon. Stupid Netflix.

*The Baiji is now extinct, the Northern White Rhino is most likely extinct in the wild, and other species have been rebounding well due to conservation efforts.

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