Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet" and "Endangered Edens."

The entire Last Chance to See “trilogy” is excellent

Last Chance to See

Over a period of two months, I read the original Last Chance to See book, read the Last Chance to See follow-up book, and then watched the Last Chance to See DVD.

Much of what I said in my previous review of Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, applies to this review of the second Last Chance to See, by Mark Carwardine writing solo. However, I think few would argue that Douglas Adams made the original book much more humorous than the follow-up. It’s not that Mark Carwardine can’t be funny on his own, but Douglas Adams is in a class by himself when it comes to environmental-travel writing.

I do have one item to nitpick about. In this follow-up book, Carwardine brought up the obligatory Amazon story of the candiru, which is a skinny one-inch-long catfish. According to legend, if you urinate underwater, a candiru can follow your urine stream, swim up your urethra, and lodge itself there by spreading its hooked gill spines. The only way to remove the fish is through surgery. It sounds gruesome, but when I wrote my book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet (two years before Carwardine wrote his book), there were no documented cases of candiru-plugged urethras to be found.

Therefore, I believe Carwardine bought into the candiru legend without properly investigating it—something a zoologist like him should never do. That being said, people make mistakes, and the candiru is a small one.

All in all, this was a delightful book on the depressing subject of extinctions. And kudos to Carwardine for making the new version of Last Chance to See significantly different from the original—and excellent in its own way.

My recommendation is to read the books in order and then watch the DVD. You’ll enjoy them all!

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