Dec 30, 2018

Last Chance to See

by Douglas Adams
and Mark Cardwardine

Sci-fi author (famous for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) travels the world to view some of the most endangered animals on the planet, before they are gone. He goes to Madagascar to see the aye-aye, to Komodo for the iconic giant lizards, to Zaire for the mountain gorillas and northern white rhino (there were twenty living at the time), to New Zealand in hopes of finding a kakapo, to China in search of the Yangtze river dolphin, to Mauritius to see the Rodrigues fruit bat and some endangered birds as well. Some of these he just caught a glimpse of (the aye-aye), other animals he was able to observe up close. I was surprised what a fun read this was, in spite of its grave subject matter- it's kind of a wild travelogue, and the author's humor in describing situations frequently sparked a laugh. To note, in the years since this book was written, the river dolphin is presumed extinct, the northern white rhino is functionally so (down to two individuals), the fruit bat is increasing in numbers, komodo dragons are doing okay (listed as vulnerable), kakapo appears to be gradually recovering (their reproduction rate is incredibly slow), the gorilla and aye-aye are still very much endangered. When I read this book I was impressed at the actions the Chinese took to save the river dolphin, but it wasn't enough. Similar book, although now outdated in terms of the animals' predicament (and not nearly as enjoyable a read) : Wild Echoes.

Rating: 3/5               220 pages, 1990

more opinions:
Things Mean a Lot 
anyone else?


bermudaonion said...

That sounds interesting - you'd think books like that would be a wake up call to all of us.

Jeane said...

Apparently we do not learn well from our mistakes.

Amy@jJustBookReading said...

Grim topic but I adore Adams's sense of humor which makes me want to pick this up. It does make me sad though that we aren't learning from our mistakes.

carol said...

This sounds like a really interesting book, sad but probably funny to, give Adams' sense of humor.