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Very Funny And MovingThe Glimpses Of Rare Fauna Seem To Have Enlarged Adams Thinking, Enlivened His World And So Might The Animals Do For Us All, If We Were To Help Them Live THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLDJoin Bestselling Author Douglas Adams And Zooligist Mark Carwardine As They Take Off Around The World In Search Of Exotic, Endangered Creatures Hilarious And Poignant As Only Douglas Adams Can Be LAST CHANCE TO SEE Is An Entertaining And Arresting Odyssey Through The Earth S Magnificent Wildlife Galaxy


10 thoughts on “Last Chance to See

  1. says:

    I love Douglas Adams s science fiction Just look at my bookshelves So it s as a firm fan that I say Douglas Adams was wasted wasted on science fiction.The man is obviously a science writer.His science fiction was always good Clearly But none of it sings like Last Chance to See This book is a passionate, loving, critical look at the human species and the influence we ve had on our planet mates It chronicles the decline, and impending loss, of some wonderful, charismatic vertebrates It takes us to task for the degradation of the planet, and makes us feel the tragic loss of our heritage, but it never depresses It bounces up from the darkest moments with Adams s trademark dark humor Of course, that humor has the effect of throwing all the rest into sharp relief, highlighting the tragedy and wounding your heart That s what makes it such a powerful book, and one everyone should read The beauty is that it s also smooth and lucid enough that everyone can read it He never preaches, and the book always keeps the tone of a story told around a campfire, among friends.If this doesn t inspire anyone who reads it to care just a little bit about the non human, but still precious, species that inhabit Earth, then I will give up trying to save them tomorrow But at the same time, Adams s courage, compassion, humility, and humor make a compelling case for humanity s continued existence as a species.


  2. says:

    This book is a travelogue, about a writer and a zoologist who went around the globe in search of exotic animals that are seriously endangered, almost extinct Douglas Adams is the writer, and author of the hilarious science fiction comedy series, The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy In this book, he again adds humorous touches, but not nearly as far fetched.Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine travel around the world in order to get a story for the BBC Just as much about the animals, it is also about the journey itself Douglas Adams tells his story with incisive remarks about the people they meet, the cultures, and the manner in which the cultures view their endangered species The creatures they seek include the northern white rhino, the kakapo, the komodo dragon, the mountain gorilla, the Rodrigues fruitbat, and the Yangtze River dolphin.While this is not a recent book, it still is a great read, and is still totally relevant to today The book includes a selection of photographs, that illustrate each of the sought after animals I especially appreciate the reason that Adams gives for protecting these endangered animals While he observes that animals and plants can provide us with life saving drugs and food, pollinate crops and provide important ingredient, the most important reason for protecting them is that the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them


  3. says:

    Douglas Adams went around the globe along with zoologist Mark Carwardine in search of various species of animals and birds which were on the verge of extinction in 1985 when this book was written My interest was piqued on the thought that if these species were considered endangered in 1985, what would be their current status as of 2012 Well I did some research I mean I Googled it But not in an amateurish way, I tried hard enough until I got bored, i.e after 15 minutes And one thing that I cannot understand is why even some educated people consider the extinction of various species a natural phenomenon Just say these words in front of a well educated crowd and you almost know what answer you are going to get Global warming Pah Government conspiracy Extinction of various species It is not a new thing It s just a cycle But what if someone told you that the rate of extinction has increased exponentially in the last 50 years or so And just because Al Gore supports the campaign against global warming doesn t make it a conspiracy Anyway, let s just look at the comparison of the species population which Adams saw in 1985 compared to the current year 2012 Aye Aye Madagascar unknown pop 1985 Fortunately they are widespread than previously thought 2012 Northern White Rhino Zaire Africa 22 nos 1985 Extinct 2012 Only 7 remain in captivity Mountain Gorrillas Zaire Africa 280 nos 1985 790 nos 2012 But endangered due to activities like deforestation and poaching Kakapo New Zealand 40 nos 1985 126 nos 2012 Yangtze River Dolphin aka Baiji China 200 nos 1985 Extinct 2012 The Komodo dragon Indonesia 5000 nos 350 females 1985 4000 5000 nos 2012 Finless porpoise Yangtze River, China 400 nos 1985 less than 400 nos 2012 The Rodrigues fruitbat Mauritius 100 nos 1985 3000 nos and rising 2012 Mauritius kestrel Mauritius 100 nos 1985 3000 nos and rising 2012 Echo Parakeet Mauritius 15 nos 1985 130 nos 2012 Pink pigeons Mauritius 200 nos 1985 350 nos 2012 Well, not everyone made it And those who are faring better comparatively are still considered endangered if not critically endangered And these are among the lucky few who were saved because of the much required publicity received from various sources including, I think, this book.Apart from these species, Adams also saw some of the rarest species of flora In his own words I knew that the palm tree was called Beverly because Wendy told me that was what she had christened it It was a bottle palm, so called because it is shaped like a Chianti bottle, and it was one of the eight that remain on Round Island, the only eight wild ones in the world.Or that the Hyophorbe amarfcaulis a palm tree so rare that it doesn t have any name other than its scientific one standing in the Curepipe Botanic Gardens in Mauritius is the only one of its kind in existence The tree was only discovered by chance while the ground on which it stands was being cleared in order to construct the Botanic Gardens It was about to be cut down But a skeptic would still ask that why is it only and only our human beings fault that earth s ecology is crumbling Well, Adams countered it perfectly The great thing about being the only species that makes a distinction between right and wrong is that we can make up the rules for ourselves as we go along.


  4. says:

    Brilliant book So funny, yet so deeply saddening this is among the most evocative and life changing books that I have read This title still haunts me and informs a lot of my concerns about the environment and human inaction.


  5. says:

    Adams was an amazingly humorous fellow, but it can be easy to forget that the source of his humor is always surreal profundity It s as if he sees a completely different world than the rest of us, but one which looks precisely the same In this book out of print when I found an editor s proof copy Adams takes that hilariously disparate view and directs it like a spastic and noodly laser at the mis management of our natural world There is a reason that Richard Dawkins recalls Adams so fondly as a compatriot in the fight for reason Adams is as honest, sublime, and disarming as ever I personally don t believe in a static view of nature Extinction even mass extinction has been a constant theme throughout prehistory Humanity isn t even the first single species to cause the mass extinction of a huge variety of animals algae did it millions of years before humans even existed.Animals compete for the same resources, and whenever there are changes in the environment, be they geographical or climatic, there are going to be extinctions as different species come into contact in new ways Despite what a lot of badly researched sci fi might tell you, evolution is not a process of improvement no species is any evolved than any other species, each species has simply evolved in different ways to meet the requirements of a different ecological niche.The coelecanth was a fish that first crawled out of the water hundreds of millions of years ago, and which we assumed had gone extinct until one was caught in 1975 That fish s descendents eventually produced the first lizards, which produced the first mammals, which produced the first primates, which eventually produced human beings Yet, just because we evolved from the lowly coelecanth does not mean that we are highly evolved stick a human being and a coelecanth in the middle of the ocean for a few days and it should be clear that we are just evolved to do different sorts of things.Part of the reason we re experiencing high rates of extinction right now is that there are species now than at any other point, and a huge number of those species are extremely specialized to a certain type of lifestyle, meaning even a small adjustment in their environment is likely to drive them to extinction Mr Tibbles was a naughty cat he hunted an entire species to extinction by himself This was the Stephens Island Wren, a flightless bird which had evolved to live on nothing but the algae that accumulated on the rocky island.This is not evidence that Mr Tibbles was evolved than the wren, because Mr Tibbles, left alone on the island, couldn t do what the wren did survive off the island s resources The reason cats, goats, rabbits, and pigs have been successful when introduced in new areas is because they are generalists, not specialists They can survive in a wide variety of environments even when they are not the animal best suited to that environment, because in times of change and upheaval, generalists outperform specialists.A group of scientists were testing the behavior of flies and discovered that if the flies entered an area and there was no food there, almost none of the flies would ever return to that area Then, the scientists began to wait until the flies had checked an area, and then put food there after they left Within a few generations, the flies who returned had been much successful, and so their offspring predominated Now nearly all the flies would return to the same areas, again and again.Yet, when the scientists reset the test to the original conditions, the specialized behavior died out, after only a few generations, because spending the time and energy and brain space on that behavior was just not worth it It s the same reason that isolated bird populations tend to become flightless flight is great for moving around and escaping enemies, but it takes a lot of energy to maintain, so if all you have to sustain you is algae, and there are no predators to flee, you might as well drop the showy flight thing and use those calories to keep your body warm and alive.One of the great benefits of this process to humans is that all of those horrible, terrifying treatment resistant diseases we have produced by overuse and misuse of antibiotics are highly specialized, and so, if we just drastically reduce antibiotic use, normal, generalist strains of e coli will drastically outperform specialist, antibiotic resistant strains and drive them out of the ecosystem, which is exactly what has happened in Scandinavia where antibiotic treatment reduction is already in place.No matter what humans do, we won t wipe out life, and we won t destroy the environment , we ll just change it There are bacteria that live on radioactive rods in the middle of nuclear power plants, and on boiling, magma fed vents at the lightless bottom of the sea, and there are even bacteria that can live in a sterile, sealed container eating nothing but solar radiation Sure, we could change the environment so much that we would kill off all the large animals, including ourselves, and most plants, but something else will just survive and take over The Chernobyl site is now one of the most lush and wild natural preserves in all of Russia.There is no single, static way for the world to be the environment and the animals that live in it are always changing, and to some degree, humans complaining about the extinction of certain specialized animals is like an old person complaining that the world isn t like it used to be Just because the environment was the way it was when humans evolved, that doesn t mean it is the only way for the environment to be, or that it won t change, or that change is bad, or that we should or could stop that change.But we should ask whether we want to destroy ourselves, whether we want to set up an environmental system that favors superbacteria and destructively invasive species, because in the end, it s not about the world, it s about us and what we have to live with The world will get along fine without us, after all.


  6. says:

    One of those special books that, when you finish, you immediately want to find someone who hasn t read it, and press it into there hands, murmuring insistently, you have to read this I m a big Douglas Adams fan The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of my all time favourite series, and the Dirk Gently mysteries aren t far behind When I set up my Pantheon list of literary gods, Douglas Adams came straight in at Number 2 behind Terry Pratchett and Last Chance to See was the one, key book that I hadn t read of his.I found reading this a surprisingly emotional experience I mean Adams voice is so strong in all his work, and within a couple of paragraphs I felt like I was back in his presence a twelve year old boy sneaking the lamp back on after my parents had gone away, to read just one chapter and I felt that wave of grief wash over me again, just like the day I heard that he d died But he s funny, and bright and grumpy and just brilliant I was sad to be reminded that he had passed away, but I was also hugely entertained and delighted that, despite being a non fiction, this was every bit as good as his wildly imaginative speculative fiction.This is 30% ecology novel about endangered species, and 70% travel book about the adventures of a cranky, middle aged Brit travelling to far flung lands to visit said endangered species.The 30% is fascinating and the 70% kept me grinning Some of the phrases have embedded themselves in my head I will always think of rhinos as nimble young volkswagens , and kakopos as the birds that have forgotten that they ve forgotten how to fly.One of those special books that, when you finish, you immediately want to find someone who hasn t read it, and press it into there hands, murmuring insistently, you have to read this Even writing this review makes me want to go and re read Dirk GentlyAfter this I read Snow Crash


  7. says:

    I m not a zoology student but I have a 3 unit subject and we were required to visit either Manila Zoo or the National Museum of the Philippines animal research section, it was a part of our annual field trip without the teacher in charge Because I m new here in Manila last year my classmates decided to go both the zoo and the museum In spite of the fact that the weather was hot, we were forced to go outside and take pictures for our journal because it was the last day of submission.Our first stop was the Museum, we were lucky that the researchers in charge the museum were present that time and they have the time to show their specialties Every group was required to enter a certain room with a researcher in charge and they tackled about animals of course and plants If I can still remember, only few have been discussed because of the limited materials present that time and the Museum is under construction by somewhat fail to finish.After that we went to Manila Zoo, the worst place in Manila It was one of the dirtiest places here and not recommended to be visited every Sunday, although almost Filipino families wanted or already went here and have their Sunday picnic You can also see animals that are suffering because of the lack of space and the grills that are not meant for them They should be in the wild but they are needed to be preserve and be seen by the people If you re an animal lover or somehow trying to be one soon, this is a great place to take your blowing mind and grab some board with quotes that are funny and in fact nobody cared to see you but only the lenses of cameras are interested in taking pictures of you and your ugly sign board.I m not supporting Manila Zoo, but I think we must remember that there are always positive and negative outcome in every actions that we made or advantage and disadvantage why we made places like zoos or animal lab In fact a specie is required to be hunt and be hunted so that other species must survive, we need balance in our ecosystem and we are just part of that small community who wanted and tried to survive for almost 5,000 years of existence Douglas Adams and his coauthor, Mark Carwardine travels through greatness of God s creation Looking for animals that are endangered in Last Chance to See You don t need to become a knowledgeable zoologist, a 5 year naturalist or a tracker to enjoy the book that he dedicated to the people who wanted to see animals that are soon to be lost in books and in the memories of mankind It was started when Douglas was assigned to write an article 3 years before the event to Observer and met Mark, a zoologist and both were assigned to look for an Aye aye Daubentonia madagascariensis , a rare specie of nocturnal Lemur which can be found only in Madagascar After the unexpected meeting they decided to find endangered animals and write a book for them to support the facilities and minor projects of the government in preserving those animals.They went through a very serious but hilarious journey and met nice researcher and people to guide us readers to explore the secret behind the thick forest of India, New Zealand, China and the famous Dodo s Island, Mauritius Of course, before Douglas and his friend went to Mauritius, dodos Raphus cucullatus were already extinct in mid 17th century But it is not too late for us to go outside and and discover new species True Colors, can t help but to laugh than to support them If you see me naked and wearing blue paint you may laugh and take pictures of me and be posted it online I don t know where they get their courage to model nude in public Sings True ColorsRating Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, 5 Sweets and the people who cared and want to see animals that are in near extinction It took me 3 pages of my book journal and unconquerable nights of thinking of those animals and asking myself, do I still have chance to see them before I die My top 1 on my best book this year Borrowed from Ranee of Goodreads Filipinos Challenges Book 25 for 2011


  8. says:

    It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos and dolphins It is simply this The world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them And so ends this brilliant travelogue documentary of sorts that is uplifting, moving and hilarious as only Douglas Adams can Why wasn t Douglas Adams writing for National Geography Developed as a radio show on BBC, the writing provides an account of the travels of the author with zoologist Mark Carwedine in search of endangered fauna to the corners of the earth Japan, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zaire to name a few The author marvels at the ways of nature and the role of humans in protecting the species And in this manages to bring to light the almost thoughtless plundering we have done to the habitats of so many species Adams also inserts incisive commentary on the different cultures, which are almost standup comedy material, and their approach to handling extinction The description of the encounters with the beautiful species are so warm and fuzzy that you want to join the crusade In one of the encounters with the Silverback Gorrilla, an animal which is almost our direct ancestor, the author worries that we anthropomorphize what the animal will be going through, but then does it anyway The tale of the kakapo mating practices or the crazy Parakeet that thinks it is a human are presented in the best possible way by a non zoologist Vintage Douglas Adams I ve never understood all this fuss people make about the dawn I ve seen a few and they re never as good as the photographs, which have the additional advantage of being things you can look at when you re in the right frame of mind, which is usually around lunchtime One conservation worker we met said he sometimes wondered if the mating call of the male didn t actively repel the female, which is the sort of biological absurdity you otherwise find only in discotheques Generally, in my experience, when you visit a country in which you have any relatives living there s a tendency to want to lie low and hope they don t find out you re in town At least with the gorillas you know that there s no danger of having to go out to dinner with them and catch up on several million years of family history We are not an endangered species ourselves yet, but this is not for lack of trying I am not an activist I don t even make pointless contributions to World wild fund and have a mild moral deficiency in believing humans have a duty to protect the flora and fauna However, I have huge respect for those who can think beyond themselves and show something close to love for a species without expecting something This book might have been sponsored by BBC and probably used a vehicle by Mr.Adams for continuing his crazy writing But the heart of the book is in that perfect left ist place and the prose is the right balance of evocative and funny.Loved every part of it Best non fiction read in 2017.


  9. says:

    We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors, but have borrowed it from our children. AnonymousEvolution is an ongoing process, and each species simply evolves in different ways to meet the requirements of its ecological niche, extremely specialized to that ecology and lifestyle There is generally enough time, in the case of a natural change to its ecology, for the species to try to adapt and evolve further To try to survive Extinction is nothing new to Earth and 99.99% of all species that have ever lived are now nonextant One species playing a role in completely wiping out another species is again something that s been happening since the days of algae Homo sapiens, though, are unique in two aspects 1 in being the only species to have the cognitive ability to identify and understand the micro and macro level impact and repercussions of their decisions and actions and 2 in being the single largest factor in history to have the power to change an environment quite dramatically and suddenly, intentionally or otherwise, and positively or otherwise And yet, the rate of extinction has increased exponentially in the last few decades and we re reviewing a book titled Last Chance to See.This book is as evocative, poignant and funny as some of Charlie Chaplin s best work And that s not a comparison I d ever make lightly Light but with a heavy heart, the book drives home the affecting point that, with our anthropocentric view of Earth, we are slowly but surely driving a lot of species towards extinction, while also not exactly helping in the evolving of new species, thanks to our truly global footprint Just imagine, an entire type of animal, gone forever with a zero percent probability of ever wishing them back As the book sums up, There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos and dolphins And it is simply this the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them.The book also has some wonderful anecdotes and observations from the travels of Adams and Mark Carwardine, and can quite easily take a place just as a remarkable and entertaining travelogue All with some wonderful, wry British humour laced with a tinge of witty profoundness Bryson esque, and with the context and content, maybe even better An absolute delight.Travelogue Evolution Douglas Adams 5 stars.


  10. says:

    Mark Carwardine was a zoologist working for the World Wildlife Fund when he was hired by a magazine to take Douglas Adams to see the world s rarest nocturnal lemur, the Madagascar aye aye The trip was enough of a success that they decided having Adams write funny things about his attempt to visit endangered species was a good way to raise awareness about animal conservation, so they reunited a few years later to track down some other animals whose numbers have fallen into the double digits The resulting collection of ecology travel essays is hands down one of my all time favorite books.During the course of their travels, Carwardine and Adams go to Indonesia to visit the Komodo dragon, Zaire to see the Northern White rhinoceros, New Zealand to see the Kakapo parrot, China to see the Yangtzee River dolphin and Mauritius to see the Rodrigues fruit bat Adams style of absurdist humor is particularly well suited to detailing the problems involved in merely getting to the places where these animals are supposed to be, since they are frequently located rather inconveniently in remote areas of third world countries His front line reports set the stage by being laugh out loud funny, keeping us so entertained and open that by the time we finally do get to meet these precarious creatures, we have no choice but to care about them and their fates as much as our intrepid reporters do.