Last Chance to See

Posted by on Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine.

I let this book sit on my shelf for ages.  I love Douglas Adams.  And I am very sad that he’s dead.  Downright pissed, actually.  So, since he’s not writing anything new, I let this one ripen for a while before reading it, since I’m now officially out of new Adams to read forever.  Stupid mortality.

The book is non-fiction, and a departure from Adams’s novels.  Adams was hired by BBC radio in the late 1980s to go on a trip to see a particularly rare animal and talk about it.  Things went so well that Adams talked the BBC into sending him on a series of trips to find other endangered species and report on their plight.  Carwardine, a zoologist, conservationist, and an excellent wildlife photographer, planned and went on of trips, took  photographs, and explained the business of zoology and conservation to Adams.  Adams, of course, is quickly convinced of the need to protect these animals and their habitat.  Any reader who isn’t also convinced might just be dead inside.

The bare facts of these animals’ plights are terribly sad.  But Adams was, of course, a funny guy.  So he describes the wonders of traveling to remote areas and interacting with folks from other cultures and tracking animals with honesty about the difficulties, but also with a lot of humor.  This is a travel book, a book about animals, but of course also a book about people and culture.   Adams’s voice is still his voice, of course, so his fans will find this book comfortable, even when it’s sad. 

Parts of the book and many photographs are available here, so go ahead and get a taste of the book.    Since the research for the book started almost 20 years ago, the facts about many of the species covered in the book have since changed.    The kakapo are doing better now, thanks to a great conservation effort in New Zealand.   The Komodo dragon population is higher now too.  The baiji are still having a tough time, and the Yangtze is still terribly polluted. 

Read the book.  Support wildlife and habitat protection projects.  Don’t buy endangered wild-caught birds or fish as pets.  Keep your housecats indoors so they don’t eat songbirds or frogs, both of which evolved without small cats as predators and both of which are suffering huge population drops and habitat loss.  You know the drill. 

Filed in Books | 2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Last Chance to See”

  1. minnieon 05 Oct 2006 at 8:12 am 1

    i think my cat joplin would have a heart attack if she got outside, lol. and jimi stays very close to home if he accidentally gets out. no frog or bird eating here.

  2. AnotherChanceToSeeon 09 Oct 2006 at 2:01 pm 2

    Drop by my site if you get a chance. All about bringing the stories of the Last Chance To See animals up-to-date. Lots of audio video links too.


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