Hayley's Reviews > Last Chance to See

Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams
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Jan 20, 09

Recommended to Hayley by: Brittany
Recommended for: Anyone with even a passing interest in animals or species conservation
Read in January, 2009, read count: 1

Written by a well-known scifi humorist, this real-life account of his travels to see endangered animals is very funny, but is also very poignant when it's NOT funny.

In a concise little book, the author conveys the most interesting details of his trips to see several species, including the silly and sometimes alarming details of his travels, the struggles to locate the rare species in the wild, what it's like when he finally does, and how conservationists are working to protect the animals.

While this is meant to be a narrative, not a conservation ecology primer of any kind, it does teach a few tidbits about the subject--including why fragile island ecosystems often fall to hardy mainland invaders.

It's never technical, nor does it ever drag--Douglas Adams will make you laugh aloud at the strange courtship of earth's fattest parrot, or make your skin crawl by describing Komodo dragons languidly tearing apart a dead goat.

Much of the time, his characteristic humor shines. But occasionally, his writing takes a notably sad or distressed tone, just long enough that readers might feel it too. He's mastered the balance of bringing these animals to life (often with plenty of laughs), then bringing their problems to the forefront without being pushy.

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Hayley Wes wrote: "I've been reading Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale and before I started in I was just flipping through it when I saw a name that immediately caught my…eye—the Aye-aye. I remembered..."

Yeah...I didn't know what the hell a fossa was until I interned at Natl. Geo. I remember looking at it and thinking it looked like 5 different animals. Looking at this one in the video...I get a sense of...badger, for some reason.


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