Last Chance To See

yangtze river dolphin, or "bajii"

Miles’ video of the horny kakapo parrot reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time, “Last Chance To See” by Douglas Adams.  It was published in 1990, accompanied by a “Last Chance To See” BBC radio show hosted by Adams.  In the book and radio show, Adams traveled to some of the most remote places on earth to try to get a “last chance to see” some of the most critically endangered animals in the world, such as the Yangtze River Dolphin, the Kakapo, and the Amazonian Manatee.  The book is very funny, but it also brings awareness to a very important issue.  Whole species of animals are going extinct by human means before our very eyes, and in some cases we are doing little to stop the massacre.  The Yangtze River Dolphin was officially declared extinct in 2006.  They were polluted to death by sewage and waste, shredded by boat propellers, and contained by dams.  With their late maturity and low birth rate, the dolphin didn’t stand an evolutionary chance against the rapidly developing human world.  There is only one surviving Kakapo parrot in the world, and its stuck humping people out of loneliness (well, maybe loneliness, maybe just horniness).  The Amazonian Manatee isn’t doing too well either; its river is being polluted by farming, logging, and development.

Now, 2o years later, Adam’s two friends Steven Fry and Mark Carwardine are continuing the book’s legacy with the series “Last Chance To See” on BBC Two.  Some of their videos have become popular all over the world, such as Miles’ video of the raunchy parrot.  This publicity is good; it brings awareness to animals in remote corners of the earth that we wouldn’t think about in our everyday life.  I hope that this awareness brings people to act and not just watch, because tragically, these animals lives now depend on our choices.


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