Last Chance to See ePUB µ Last Chance Epub /

Last Chance to See ePUB µ Last Chance Epub /


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10 thoughts on “Last Chance to See

  1. Brittany Brittany 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 fictionThe man is obviously a science writerHis 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 friendsIf 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. David David 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 fetchedDouglas 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 dolphinWhile 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. Dennis Dennis says:

    Original title Last Chance to Seeby Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardinefirst published in 1990In 1985 Douglas Adams met zoologist Mark Carwardine on a trip to Madagascar where for The Observer they should look for the aye aye a lemur that can’t be found anywhere else in the worldIt turned out to be a rather challenging trip But Adams and Carwardine hit it off immediately and since both of them happened to have no plans for 1988 yet they decided to meet again and travel around the world in search of other endangered species Being aware that it might be their last chance to see themAnd thus we follow the two of them toIndonesia where on Komodo island they were observing the Komodo dragonto Zaire now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in search of the northern white rhinocerosto New Zealand where they were looking for the kakapoto China trying to find the baiji also known as the Yangtze river dolphinand lastly to Mauritius where they were planning to look for the Rodrigues flying foxOn that last trip though they ended up mostly observing other endangered species as Mauritius actually has a lot of themIn general one learns uite a bit about the places that Adams and Carwardine visited It is a travelogue after all And a rather funny one as many things went not the way they had been planned and the two of them also met some uite interesting people most of them very passionate about the conservation of animals and a lot of those being very special characters as well And then of course there is the challenge of traveling in the 80’s to some countries that make it especially difficult for visitorsDouglas Adams tells about all of this with considerable amount of humor He and Carwardine but he especially found himself in so many absurd situations which he sometimes faced with a sort of bewildered amusement often with sarcasm and also with some inevitable gallows humor here and there I admire his ability to teach us a couple of things about those countries and raise awareness for the endangered animals while he manages to make people laugh It’s a great way to learn things Although there were a couple of moments when it got almost too silly for my taste Sometimes I felt like he was trying to force it But often than not he got it exactly rightThe book’s title unfortunately turned out to be rather accurate in some cases While some of those species above are doing comparatively well mostly thanks to the enormous efforts of some determined people of which we meet a few in this book I’m sad to report that the baiji is now considered as possibly extinct The last confirmed sighting being in 2002 And the northern white rhino also is possibly extinct in the wild Right now there are only two of this subspecies left which both live in a wildlife conservancy in Kenia They are both femaleSorry to finish this review on such a sad note It is a sad topic and often times it is a lack of human awareness that leads to these developments Which is exactly what makes those kind of books so important Now this is a rather old book by now of course But even though there’s no chance to see some of these animals the book as such is not outdated It still matters and it still can make people aware of what’s going on all over the world And ultimately it is my additional research that made me sad The book on the other hand managed to make me laugh a lotLastly great narration of the German audiobook by Stefan Kaminski The guy completely nailed it Certainly one of the best audiobooks I've listened to probably in my top 2 at this point But I hear that the English audio is narrated by Stephen Fry So that one might not be too bad either45 stars


  4. Veeral Veeral 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 piued 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 ie after 15 minutesAnd 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 AyeMadagascar unknown pop 1985 – Fortunately they are widespread than previously thought 2012Northern White Rhino Zaire Africa – 22 nos 1985 – Extinct 2012 Only 7 remain in captivityMountain Gorrillas Zaire Africa – 280 nos 1985 – 790 nos 2012 But endangered due to activities like deforestation and poachingKakapo New Zealand– 40 nos 1985 – 126 nos 2012 Yangtze River Dolphin aka Baiji China – 200 nos 1985 – Extinct 2012The Komodo dragon Indonesia– 5000 nos 350 females 1985 – 4000 5000 nos 2012Finless porpoise Yangtze River China– 400 nos 1985 – less than 400 nos 2012The Rodrigues fruitbat Mauritius – 100 nos 1985 – 3000 nos and rising 2012 Mauritius kestrel Mauritius 100 nos 1985 – 3000 nos and rising 2012Echo Parakeet Mauritius – 15 nos 1985 – 130 nos 2012Pink pigeons Mauritius – 200 nos 1985 – 350 nos 2012Well 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 reuired publicity received from various sources including I think this bookApart 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 worldOr 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 downBut 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 perfectlyThe 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


  5. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj 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


  6. Bradley Bradley says:

    So shortly after Dirk Gently's second novel Douglas Adams takes off across the world with a zoologist and together with a ton of misadventures and great photographs they meet dragons tough skinned 17 month gestating aliens birds that have forgotten how to forget how to hit the ground and we learn that DNA has a major issue with aftershaveMultiple aftershaves shudderBack in the day I saw this book in the bookstores and I said to myself Hey Buddy Where's the next fiction novel? I mean sure raising awareness for animals that are on the way to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe IS a good cause but I WANT MY FICTIONAnd so I took thirty years to get around to reading thisI feel slightly bad This is a shame read The book has shamed me on many levels while making me laugh Well At least there's that


  7. Trish Trish says:

    I found the German version of the paperback many many years ago in a bargain box of a local bookstore and only picked it up because that edition had one of my favourite animals on the cover the Komodo dragon Some books are simply destined to be in your life and determined to do whatever it takes to get thereIn the meantime I not only know the author Douglas Adams but am a little fangirl He was hilarious and very smart tech savvy and died much too early He was also a bit of a prophet From the ideas made immortal in his most well known scifi series owning the first Macintosh in the UK and being convinced that this electronic mail would win the day to writing this travelogue and rallying people to the cause in order to save animals from extinction he even ran up and down a mountain in a rhino costume to collect money for conservation effortsHe was passionate about things and he found ways to get involved because that was just how he rolled So he talked his friend Stephen Fry into housesitting and taking calls in the middle of the night when some travel arrangement or other fell through talked the BBC and others out of a considerable amount of money bought one hell of a lot of heavy filming euipment with his own money and teamed up with zoologist Mark Cawardine The plan to find 5 endangered animals that are the prime example of the impact we humans have on the natural worldHere are the five stars of the showThe Aye Aye from MadagascarThe Komodo dragon from surprise Komodo islandThe Northern white rhino from AfricaThe kakapo from New ZealandThe Yangtze river dolphin of Baiji from ChinaI am very sad to report that chances of the Chinese dolphin having survived were slim in the 80s but it has been declared extinct in or around 2009 Some poachers killed Max the last male Northern white rhino with no less than 17 shots it was definitely not just about getting his horns leaving only two females of the species For a full account of how the last 4 Northern white rhinos got from a Czech zoo to the plains of Africa watch Fry's documentary it's brilliant Scientists haven’t given up yet but we’d need Hammond and his Jurassic Park in order to save the specieshttpswwwbbccomnewsworld africaThe Komodo dragon interestingly is doing relatively fine for an endangered animal The Aye Aye is a silent victim of deforestation interestingly often for „eco friendly packaging oh the irony and V Day flower fields and will only be able to survive if at least a small portion of its habitat is not cut down Are you an optimist?The kakapo is definitely the wonderful example of what we humans can achieve through tenacity and perseverance they had been declared extinct until some were found back in 1970 and New Zealand has gone to uite some lengths to ensure their survival The birds left 147 adults in total of which only 50 are females that can lay eggs are now living on 4 islands off the coast where no cats rats or other predators can get to them Humans wanting to visit have to jump through uite some hoops as is only right Last year they were in the news because a fungus threatened to kill the entire species While I’m writing this review scientists are optimistic especially since climate change had a certain fruit tree the Rimu tree bear an unusual number of fruit and that is always directly linked to how many chicks are being born 2019 thus had a record of 249 eggs of which 89 chicks hatched with an estimated 75 hopefully surviving However this video explains amongst other things why it’s so hard breeding kakapos proves that there is always hope if we get our asses movingDNA and Mark Cawardine went on a trip all around the world meeting all kinds of people and thus being in situations one can hardly imagine and that make you laugh so hard you might need medical assistance That is another highlight of this book it’s not just informative it makes you care it makes you gasp but through it all it also makes you LAUGH The writing is typical for this author and I wholeheartedly agree with DNA that this is his best and most important work he always said he was proudest of this one For context this book is so fantastic I listened to the author reading it to me a rare audio version I couldn't find here on GR the one available on Audible right now is narrated by Stephen Fry and also rather enchanting have the afore mentioned German paperback went to considerable lengths to procure the newest paperback edition as it has Stephen Fry's foreword own Stephen Fry's follow up book as well as the two corresponding DVDs Because Mark Cawardine didn't need to be persuaded to step in the footsteps of his and DNA's first expedition with Stephen Fry back in 2009 and another 10 years later they once again checked to see what had changed Therefore this paperback edition treats the reader to an enigmatic foreword by Stephen Fry and a sombre and yet still charming afterword by Mark Carwardine all these years laterIf you like check out my review for the audio edition here


  8. Clouds Clouds 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 thisI'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 hisI 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 fictionThis 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 speciesThe 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 flyOne 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 thisEven writing this review makes me want to go and re read Dirk GentlyAfter this I read Snow Crash


  9. Trish Trish says:

    This is actually NOT the audio edition I listened to The one I listened to can't be found for some reason One of the reasons I was persuaded to listen despite having the paperback was that Douglas Adams himself was reading the book Yep he already knew audiobooks would be the way to go Smart manIn the 80s environmentalism wasn't the it word it is nowadays In fact many things were different Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry were the first two people in the UK to buyown a Macintosh for example You couldn't take hi res photographs and videos with your smartphone In fact there were no smartphones I know it's alright don't hyperventilate we're in 2020 now and we all have those creature comforts and can hardly imagine living without themSome countries are STILL not all that developed and barely have electricity No public transport with regular schedules either So imagine how much worse those places were back then Why is that important? Because organizing a trip to remote places was a nightmare Even so than today And you didn't have the lifeline of a portable phone to call for help anywhere at any moment A weird and ridiculous nightmare that made you want to scream and tear your hair out If you don't believe me read this bookMoreover with the world having been less connected than it is now less accessible than it is now people also were even less aware of things than today it was too easy to overlook them Douglas Adams refused to accept that and was one of the first to do what is so popular nowadays he got funding for an expedition to visit some of the most endangered animals on the planet to broadcast his endeavors for BBC radio and sell a book with his travelogue also not too well known a genre back then afterwards slapping knowledge around people's headsBecause as much as he loved technology he also loved the natural worldHe thus teamed up with zoologist Mark Cawardine and set out to see the Aye Aye on Madagascar Komodo dragon on you guessed it Komodo the Yangtze river dolphin or Baiji in China the Northern white rhino and gorillas in Africa the kakapo in New Zealand and many other animals along the wayWhat the reader gets is not just the account of which mountain they walked up to and which boats they took We get a hilarious look at a writer and his desperate attempt to not freak out over mosuitos in his sleeping uarters buying condoms in China and don’t get me started on the aftershave affair the audaciously obvious corruption in African airports the despair of anyone caring about than just homo sapiens the incredible experience of meeting gorillas the weirdness of mother nature's creations and much MUCH The book is informative yes but Douglas Adams didn't just have a way with words Anyone who knows even only one of his other books knows how he managed to tell you any story with such a uniue sense of humour that reading listening to his story was actually dangerous oxygen deprivation from laughing too hard is a serious concern of DNA readersThis book was his favourite and I agree It's entirely underrated because he was decades ahead of his time again It is scary and it will make you cry not just from laughter but it is also wonderfully heartwarming and reaffirming and simply fantasticIf you are interested in info about the actual expedition read my review of the paperback


  10. J.G. Keely J.G. Keely 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 existedAnimals 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 reuirements of a different ecological nicheThe 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 thingsPart 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 islandThis 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 specialistsA 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 againYet 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 aliveOne 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 placeNo 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 RussiaThere 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 changeBut 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


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10 thoughts on “Last Chance to See

  1. Brittany Brittany 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 fictionThe man is obviously a science writerHis 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 friendsIf 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. David David 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 fetchedDouglas 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 dolphinWhile 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. Dennis Dennis says:

    Original title Last Chance to Seeby Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardinefirst published in 1990In 1985 Douglas Adams met zoologist Mark Carwardine on a trip to Madagascar where for The Observer they should look for the aye aye a lemur that can’t be found anywhere else in the worldIt turned out to be a rather challenging trip But Adams and Carwardine hit it off immediately and since both of them happened to have no plans for 1988 yet they decided to meet again and travel around the world in search of other endangered species Being aware that it might be their last chance to see themAnd thus we follow the two of them toIndonesia where on Komodo island they were observing the Komodo dragonto Zaire now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in search of the northern white rhinocerosto New Zealand where they were looking for the kakapoto China trying to find the baiji also known as the Yangtze river dolphinand lastly to Mauritius where they were planning to look for the Rodrigues flying foxOn that last trip though they ended up mostly observing other endangered species as Mauritius actually has a lot of themIn general one learns uite a bit about the places that Adams and Carwardine visited It is a travelogue after all And a rather funny one as many things went not the way they had been planned and the two of them also met some uite interesting people most of them very passionate about the conservation of animals and a lot of those being very special characters as well And then of course there is the challenge of traveling in the 80’s to some countries that make it especially difficult for visitorsDouglas Adams tells about all of this with considerable amount of humor He and Carwardine but he especially found himself in so many absurd situations which he sometimes faced with a sort of bewildered amusement often with sarcasm and also with some inevitable gallows humor here and there I admire his ability to teach us a couple of things about those countries and raise awareness for the endangered animals while he manages to make people laugh It’s a great way to learn things Although there were a couple of moments when it got almost too silly for my taste Sometimes I felt like he was trying to force it But often than not he got it exactly rightThe book’s title unfortunately turned out to be rather accurate in some cases While some of those species above are doing comparatively well mostly thanks to the enormous efforts of some determined people of which we meet a few in this book I’m sad to report that the baiji is now considered as possibly extinct The last confirmed sighting being in 2002 And the northern white rhino also is possibly extinct in the wild Right now there are only two of this subspecies left which both live in a wildlife conservancy in Kenia They are both femaleSorry to finish this review on such a sad note It is a sad topic and often times it is a lack of human awareness that leads to these developments Which is exactly what makes those kind of books so important Now this is a rather old book by now of course But even though there’s no chance to see some of these animals the book as such is not outdated It still matters and it still can make people aware of what’s going on all over the world And ultimately it is my additional research that made me sad The book on the other hand managed to make me laugh a lotLastly great narration of the German audiobook by Stefan Kaminski The guy completely nailed it Certainly one of the best audiobooks I've listened to probably in my top 2 at this point But I hear that the English audio is narrated by Stephen Fry So that one might not be too bad either45 stars

  4. Veeral Veeral 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 piued 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 ie after 15 minutesAnd 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 AyeMadagascar unknown pop 1985 – Fortunately they are widespread than previously thought 2012Northern White Rhino Zaire Africa – 22 nos 1985 – Extinct 2012 Only 7 remain in captivityMountain Gorrillas Zaire Africa – 280 nos 1985 – 790 nos 2012 But endangered due to activities like deforestation and poachingKakapo New Zealand– 40 nos 1985 – 126 nos 2012 Yangtze River Dolphin aka Baiji China – 200 nos 1985 – Extinct 2012The Komodo dragon Indonesia– 5000 nos 350 females 1985 – 4000 5000 nos 2012Finless porpoise Yangtze River China– 400 nos 1985 – less than 400 nos 2012The Rodrigues fruitbat Mauritius – 100 nos 1985 – 3000 nos and rising 2012 Mauritius kestrel Mauritius 100 nos 1985 – 3000 nos and rising 2012Echo Parakeet Mauritius – 15 nos 1985 – 130 nos 2012Pink pigeons Mauritius – 200 nos 1985 – 350 nos 2012Well 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 reuired publicity received from various sources including I think this bookApart 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 worldOr 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 downBut 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 perfectlyThe 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

  5. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj 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

  6. Bradley Bradley says:

    So shortly after Dirk Gently's second novel Douglas Adams takes off across the world with a zoologist and together with a ton of misadventures and great photographs they meet dragons tough skinned 17 month gestating aliens birds that have forgotten how to forget how to hit the ground and we learn that DNA has a major issue with aftershaveMultiple aftershaves shudderBack in the day I saw this book in the bookstores and I said to myself Hey Buddy Where's the next fiction novel? I mean sure raising awareness for animals that are on the way to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe IS a good cause but I WANT MY FICTIONAnd so I took thirty years to get around to reading thisI feel slightly bad This is a shame read The book has shamed me on many levels while making me laugh Well At least there's that

  7. Trish Trish says:

    I found the German version of the paperback many many years ago in a bargain box of a local bookstore and only picked it up because that edition had one of my favourite animals on the cover the Komodo dragon Some books are simply destined to be in your life and determined to do whatever it takes to get thereIn the meantime I not only know the author Douglas Adams but am a little fangirl He was hilarious and very smart tech savvy and died much too early He was also a bit of a prophet From the ideas made immortal in his most well known scifi series owning the first Macintosh in the UK and being convinced that this electronic mail would win the day to writing this travelogue and rallying people to the cause in order to save animals from extinction he even ran up and down a mountain in a rhino costume to collect money for conservation effortsHe was passionate about things and he found ways to get involved because that was just how he rolled So he talked his friend Stephen Fry into housesitting and taking calls in the middle of the night when some travel arrangement or other fell through talked the BBC and others out of a considerable amount of money bought one hell of a lot of heavy filming euipment with his own money and teamed up with zoologist Mark Cawardine The plan to find 5 endangered animals that are the prime example of the impact we humans have on the natural worldHere are the five stars of the showThe Aye Aye from MadagascarThe Komodo dragon from surprise Komodo islandThe Northern white rhino from AfricaThe kakapo from New ZealandThe Yangtze river dolphin of Baiji from ChinaI am very sad to report that chances of the Chinese dolphin having survived were slim in the 80s but it has been declared extinct in or around 2009 Some poachers killed Max the last male Northern white rhino with no less than 17 shots it was definitely not just about getting his horns leaving only two females of the species For a full account of how the last 4 Northern white rhinos got from a Czech zoo to the plains of Africa watch Fry's documentary it's brilliant Scientists haven’t given up yet but we’d need Hammond and his Jurassic Park in order to save the specieshttpswwwbbccomnewsworld africaThe Komodo dragon interestingly is doing relatively fine for an endangered animal The Aye Aye is a silent victim of deforestation interestingly often for „eco friendly packaging oh the irony and V Day flower fields and will only be able to survive if at least a small portion of its habitat is not cut down Are you an optimist?The kakapo is definitely the wonderful example of what we humans can achieve through tenacity and perseverance they had been declared extinct until some were found back in 1970 and New Zealand has gone to uite some lengths to ensure their survival The birds left 147 adults in total of which only 50 are females that can lay eggs are now living on 4 islands off the coast where no cats rats or other predators can get to them Humans wanting to visit have to jump through uite some hoops as is only right Last year they were in the news because a fungus threatened to kill the entire species While I’m writing this review scientists are optimistic especially since climate change had a certain fruit tree the Rimu tree bear an unusual number of fruit and that is always directly linked to how many chicks are being born 2019 thus had a record of 249 eggs of which 89 chicks hatched with an estimated 75 hopefully surviving However this video explains amongst other things why it’s so hard breeding kakapos proves that there is always hope if we get our asses movingDNA and Mark Cawardine went on a trip all around the world meeting all kinds of people and thus being in situations one can hardly imagine and that make you laugh so hard you might need medical assistance That is another highlight of this book it’s not just informative it makes you care it makes you gasp but through it all it also makes you LAUGH The writing is typical for this author and I wholeheartedly agree with DNA that this is his best and most important work he always said he was proudest of this one For context this book is so fantastic I listened to the author reading it to me a rare audio version I couldn't find here on GR the one available on Audible right now is narrated by Stephen Fry and also rather enchanting have the afore mentioned German paperback went to considerable lengths to procure the newest paperback edition as it has Stephen Fry's foreword own Stephen Fry's follow up book as well as the two corresponding DVDs Because Mark Cawardine didn't need to be persuaded to step in the footsteps of his and DNA's first expedition with Stephen Fry back in 2009 and another 10 years later they once again checked to see what had changed Therefore this paperback edition treats the reader to an enigmatic foreword by Stephen Fry and a sombre and yet still charming afterword by Mark Carwardine all these years laterIf you like check out my review for the audio edition here

  8. Clouds Clouds 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 thisI'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 hisI 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 fictionThis 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 speciesThe 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 flyOne 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 thisEven writing this review makes me want to go and re read Dirk GentlyAfter this I read Snow Crash

  9. Trish Trish says:

    This is actually NOT the audio edition I listened to The one I listened to can't be found for some reason One of the reasons I was persuaded to listen despite having the paperback was that Douglas Adams himself was reading the book Yep he already knew audiobooks would be the way to go Smart manIn the 80s environmentalism wasn't the it word it is nowadays In fact many things were different Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry were the first two people in the UK to buyown a Macintosh for example You couldn't take hi res photographs and videos with your smartphone In fact there were no smartphones I know it's alright don't hyperventilate we're in 2020 now and we all have those creature comforts and can hardly imagine living without themSome countries are STILL not all that developed and barely have electricity No public transport with regular schedules either So imagine how much worse those places were back then Why is that important? Because organizing a trip to remote places was a nightmare Even so than today And you didn't have the lifeline of a portable phone to call for help anywhere at any moment A weird and ridiculous nightmare that made you want to scream and tear your hair out If you don't believe me read this bookMoreover with the world having been less connected than it is now less accessible than it is now people also were even less aware of things than today it was too easy to overlook them Douglas Adams refused to accept that and was one of the first to do what is so popular nowadays he got funding for an expedition to visit some of the most endangered animals on the planet to broadcast his endeavors for BBC radio and sell a book with his travelogue also not too well known a genre back then afterwards slapping knowledge around people's headsBecause as much as he loved technology he also loved the natural worldHe thus teamed up with zoologist Mark Cawardine and set out to see the Aye Aye on Madagascar Komodo dragon on you guessed it Komodo the Yangtze river dolphin or Baiji in China the Northern white rhino and gorillas in Africa the kakapo in New Zealand and many other animals along the wayWhat the reader gets is not just the account of which mountain they walked up to and which boats they took We get a hilarious look at a writer and his desperate attempt to not freak out over mosuitos in his sleeping uarters buying condoms in China and don’t get me started on the aftershave affair the audaciously obvious corruption in African airports the despair of anyone caring about than just homo sapiens the incredible experience of meeting gorillas the weirdness of mother nature's creations and much MUCH The book is informative yes but Douglas Adams didn't just have a way with words Anyone who knows even only one of his other books knows how he managed to tell you any story with such a uniue sense of humour that reading listening to his story was actually dangerous oxygen deprivation from laughing too hard is a serious concern of DNA readersThis book was his favourite and I agree It's entirely underrated because he was decades ahead of his time again It is scary and it will make you cry not just from laughter but it is also wonderfully heartwarming and reaffirming and simply fantasticIf you are interested in info about the actual expedition read my review of the paperback

  10. J.G. Keely J.G. Keely 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 existedAnimals 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 reuirements of a different ecological nicheThe 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 thingsPart 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 islandThis 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 specialistsA 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 againYet 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 aliveOne 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 placeNo 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 RussiaThere 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 changeBut 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

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