Mark Carwardine, a former World Land Trust (WLT) Trustee and keen supporter, worked with the late, great, Douglas Adams on a series called Last Chance to See, some twenty years ago. Their journeys took them as far afield as Zaire in search of the Northern White Rhino, China in search of the Yangtze River Dolphin and the Amazon in search of the Manatee. The book of the series was published in 1990 as a companion to the BBC radio series. In 2001 Mark and Douglas were discussing the possibility of new adventures, when sadly Douglas suffered a heart attack and died that year.
Stephen Fry was a close friend of Douglas Adams, and when Douglas and Mark spent their year travelling the world, Stephen lived in Douglas' house, and recalls "taking urgent phone calls to send maps and lenses to faraway places." It seemed a natural evolution that Stephen should take over where Douglas left off and in 2008-09, exactly 20 years after the original journey, Stephen and Mark found themselves heading off to in search of those same animals, to look at how they had fared over the past two decades. Shown on BBC2 during September and October Mark and Stephen went in search of
- Amazonian Manatee
- Northern White Rhinoceros
- Komodo dragon
- Blue Whale
On Thursday, 15 October, a few days before the final episode was shown, Mark Carwardine spoke of his adventures with Stephen Fry at a WLT Charity event, held as part of our 20th Anniversary Celebrations, at St George's, Bristol. Talking to a packed house, Mark told both hilarious and poignant tales of their journeys, illustrated with breathtaking photography. Said Stephen of his co-presenter: "Mark Carwardine will climb mountains, ford streams and penetrate steamy malaria-infested swamps just for one glimpse of an animal." Mark proved that this was true.
After the event
The event was a great success and Mark presented a second talk about Last Chance to See at The Cut in Halesworth, Suffolk, a year later.