Thursday, September 30, 2004

WEBSITE - MP3 Downloads

Thanks to David for this great link. Here's a site with MP3 downloads of the long Douglas Adams retrospective that aired on BBC7. It includes a full episode of the original Last Chance To See radio series, and also the first episode of the original radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

Click here to buy from can hear more segments from the Last Chance To See radio series on this regular audio CD entitled "Douglas Adams at the BBC" (3 CDs). You can buy it from

And for "in-car" listening of the MP3 files, may I recommend...

WEBSITE - BBC Science & Nature Articles

Here's a page over at the BBC Science & Nature website about Komodo Dragons . Words by Tim Jessop, author of this paper.

Here's their page about Rhinos, plus pages about dolphins and primates.

More Articles

"Where Have All The Rhinos Gone?"

"Brazilian Manatees that capture the imagination"

"Primates at risk as forests disappear"

"Why your mobile could be killing gorillas"

"Filming gorillas is a matter of faith"

"Gold threatens Madagascar"

"Learning from a baby gorilla called Gerri"

Interactive Challenges For Kids

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

NEWS - Field News from the Gorilla Fund

Here's a link to the August Field News from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
August was a busy month for the male gorillas at Karisoke. Karisoke and national park staff witnessed no less than five interactions between groups, or between groups and lone silverbacks.
If you'd like to sign up for their monthly newsletter, an email address is all they need.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

NEWS - Denver Gorilla Run - Oct 23, 2004

Another Gorilla Run! This one takes place in Denver! For entrance details, please visit the Denver Gorilla Run 2004 Homepage
The Denver Gorilla Run is a charity fun run with a difference. Everyone who takes part wears a full gorilla costume - from fluffy head to furry toe - to raise funds for the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund, the international charity working to save the world's last remaining mountain gorillas and keeping Dian Fossey’s dream alive for the past 19 years.

Friday, September 24, 2004

TRAVEL - Gorillas in our midst

Nice article, and good information on going "Gorilla Trekking"...

"A lucky Steve Meacham sees eye to eye with an endangered family in Uganda."
What is it that impresses most when you finally spot your first mountain gorilla, peering up from its hiding place in the dense equatorial undergrowth? Is it the gorilla's immensity? Its sheer brute strength? Its vulnerability? No, nothing makes an impact like those dark, impenetrable eyes.
Meeting that sorrowful stare you realise how little we humans know about our universe. A mountain gorilla's eyes feel like those of a long lost ancestor, silently reproachful of what we have made of their world.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

NEWS - Felis catus Hysteria!

The View has this interesting column on the feral cat problem around the world, and the impact it has on local animal populations, Kakapos included.
Cats kill millions of songbirds and small mammals annually! Is that statement (from the last Down to Earth) fact or hysterical fiction? Bryan Kortis, Executive Director of a group called Neighborhood Cats, claims it’s fiction, a wild extrapolation from small samples. Let’s see what light professionals can shed on the issue.

PAPER - Komodo Dragons

Here's an EXCELLENT paper by Tim S. Jessop and colleagues about the Komodo Dragon. Specifically, the "Distribution, use and selection of nest type by Komodo Dragons".
PDF Document
We report the abundance, patterns of distribution and physical characteristics of Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) nests
on Komodo Island in Indonesia. A total of 46 Komodo dragon nesting sites were identified, of these 26 nests were considered active
for the 2002/2003 season. The distribution of nests coincided with large coastal valleys in northern Komodo Island.

Also, here's a 2002 Progress Report on Komodo National Park.

NEWS - Howard Buffett Photography

Trojan Online has this article about the photography of Howard Buffett
Howard Buffett uses photography to communicate the harsh reality that billions face every day in the Third World.
Buffett is currently finishing a book titled "Threatened Kingdom" that focuses on mountain gorilla conservation in their habitat of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo while also incorporating African human rights issues such as genocide.

Buffett plans to donate the book to the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. He will also send 15,000 multilingual translations to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo so that children can learn about gorilla conservation and their own history while simultaneously learning English.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I've been thinking about adding some illustrations to the website, and what I'd ideally like is to gather some original drawings of the "Last Chance To See" animals. If you have some artistic talent yourself, or know of someone else who might be interested, drop me an email through my profile and we'll talk about it some more.

I'm not sure whether I'd like cartoony or realistic looking drawings, but that's all open for discussion. So, as I say, drop me a line and maybe attach sample or two of your work.

If you're a budding illustrator, looking for some free exposure, or would just like to bring your own drawings to a world-wide audience, this is the place for you. All just for fun really, but I know there's a lot of talented people out there. Please do get in touch!

WEBSITE - Sam Neill, Conan O'Brien and Kakapos

Stumbled across this site talking about a 1995 appearance by Sam Neill on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, when they ended up talking about Kakapos.

They have a transcript too.

NEWS - New Zealand a Noah's Ark for Conserving Bizarre Birds

National Geographic News has this report about New Zealand's unique bird population.
When New Zealand split away from the supercontinent Gondwana some 80 million years ago, its flora and fauna were left to develop in isolation.

The result was a virtual Noah's Ark of bizarre animals: Flightless, nocturnal parrots that hike several kilometers at a time; yellow-eyed penguins that nest in forests; and bad-tempered kiwis with skin as tough as shoe leather, poor eyesight, and a highly developed sense of smell.

NEWS - It wasn't just a gorilla in the mist

The Star has this report
Cameraman claims he had an affair with the naturalist, who was angry when he ended it.

Dian Fossey won international acclaim for her documentaries on the mountain gorillas of Rwanda, and was the first person to have been documented actively interacting with families of gorillas.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

WEBSITE - Wikipedia Entries

Here are some entries at Wikipedia that are "Last Chance To See" related.
Wikipedia's goal, for those who've never come across it before, is
to create a free encyclopedia -- indeed, the largest encyclopedia in history, both in terms of breadth and depth and also to become a reliable resource.
Douglas Adams
Last Chance To See -- Ooh, we get a mention!
Juan Fernandez Fur Seal
Komodo Dragon
Mountain Gorilla
Baiji Dolphin
White Rhino

Nothing so far about the Rodrigues Fruitbat, but the beauty of Wiki is that you can start and edit pages yourself. They have a "stub" for Rodrigues which we could expand with talk of the fruitbat.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

EVENTS - Good luck to everyone in the Great Gorilla Run

I'd just like to wish everyone taking part in the Great Gorilla Run tomorrow (Sunday Sep 19th), the very best of luck. Looks like you've got a good day for it. Have fun everybody, and for anyone not taking part who's nearby, get out there and support this noble (and silly) event.

Friday, September 17, 2004


The Great Apes Survival Project is an innovative and ambitious project of UNEP and UNESCO with an immediate challenge - to lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans.

NEWS - The battle for DR Congo's wildlife

The BBC has this extensive report on the recent Unesco conference
Despite the Democratic Republic of Congo's shaky peace her five World Heritage site national parks and their wildlife and unique ecosystems remain endangered.

Donors at a Unesco conference in Paris have just pledged $40m to protect DR Congo's natural heritage, but for conservationists on the ground the parks remain a battle ground.

NEWS - Great Gorilla Run - THIS SUNDAY

Here's another story about some participants in The Great Gorilla Run which is taking place this Sunday, 19th September. Go along and show your support or sponsor one of the participants.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

NEWS - Aquatic animal protection center set up in Anhui

Xinhua Online has more about the new...
Center for Protection of Aquatic Wild Animals in Yangtze River [which] has been established in Tongling City, east China's Anhui Province.

NEWS - Gorilla twins growing well is reporting
They're not yet 4 months old and already they've made history.
Twin mountain gorillas born at a national park in Rwanda in May are just the third set ever recorded and the first to survive more than a month. Visitors have been trekking through the dense forest to see the twins. Only 380 mountain gorillas are known to exist, none of them outside Africa.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

NEWS - More Dams Spell Further Decline of Asia's Longest River

ENN Affiliate News is reporting
Delicate habitats like those in the Yangtze basin, Rivers at Risk contends, are irreparably damaged by large dam construction. Species such as the Chinese alligator (the most threatened crocodile species in the world), the Yangtze River dolphin or baiji (the most threatened cetacean in the world), and the finless porpoise (the only freshwater-adapted porpoise in the world), will continue to see serious population declines and possibly become extinct as the Yangtze River continues to be dammed and modified.

Monday, September 13, 2004

NEWS - Great Gorilla Run - Sunday Sep 19, 2004


Click here to GO APE, and become a gorilla for the day!
The Great Gorilla Run is a charity fun run with a difference. Everyone who takes part wears a full gorilla costume - from fluffy head to furry toe - to raise funds for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the international charity that's working to save the world's last remaining mountain gorillas.
One of Viz magazine's staff members (Andy Tkaczyk) is competing in the run. You can make a donation or "alternatively stand at the side of the road and throw coins at him as he stumbles past".

Thanks to Iain ( for this news.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

NEWS - Between 5000 and 6000 Komodo Dragons

This article at the Navhind Times makes mention of the status of the Komodo Dragon, in reference to other monitor lizards.
In Indonesia, survey of the Komodo dragon, the giant and endangered lizard, found about 5-6000 members on a few islands.

NEWS - Kakapo fit to rule the roost

TVNZ has this report on the recent Kakapo deaths
Aroha, Aurora and Vollie were just two years old when they died from an infection similar to the ebola virus.

In life, they would have played an important role in the kakapo recovery programme.

But in death, they could ultimately ensure the survival of the species.

Friday, September 10, 2004

WEBSITE - Dispatches from the Vanishing World

If you'd like a bit of a longer read, I recommend popping over to Dispatches From the Vanishing World, the "Readers web site dedicated to preserving species and culture".

Here's a couple that I enjoyed:
 A Report on the Wildlife of Eastern Congo

 Our Far Flung Correspondents (Madagascar)

NEWS - UNESCO plans event in support of Congo's threatened World Heritage

ENN is reporting that UNESCO is planning an event in support of Congo's threatened World Heritage
Conserving this heritage is the goal set by UNESCO, the Belgian Government and the United Nations Foundation in organizing the first major international event in support of Congo's World Heritage in danger.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

NEWS - Conservationists push for wildlife corridor to protect mountain ecosystems

CBC is reporting
Conservationists from around the world are gathering in Banff, Alta. to discuss how a wildlife corridor could help protect mountain ecosystems.
Endangered species on the agenda include the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

NEWS - Zoo's remaining Komodo Dragon gets new roof

The Independent is reporting that
If all goes to plan, London Zoo's remaining Komodo dragon will soon share its home with rare bumblebees and spiders. The Komodo's building is the latest to include an 'eco-roof', more commonly known as a 'green roof', which combines indoor comfort and outdoor habitat.
You may remember that the other Dragon at the zoo tragically died in an accidental fall.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

NEWS - Three Gorges dam on flood alert

The BBC is reporting that at least 100 people have died in current heavy rains and the resulting floods in China, described by local officials as the heaviest in years. The dam is of course one of the major threats to the Baiji Dolphin.
China regularly suffers storms and severe flooding in its summer rainy season, and more than 800 people have died due to severe weather this year.

More than 450,000 people have been evacuated and 127,000 homes destroyed or damaged, the China Daily reported.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

WEBSITE - Effects of sealing on genetic variation and population structure

This page has a pretty detailed study on the role of sealing in the populations of many types of seal. For the Juan Fernandez Fur Seal:
This species was thought to be the most numerically abundant species of fur seal, perhaps numbering over 3 million in the early 1600s before exploitation, and was soon after thought to be extinct. The species was ‘rediscovered’ in the mid-1900s and is now rapidly recovering.
The link leads through to this paper (pdf).
Goldsworthy, S.D., Francis, J. Boness, D. and Fleischer, R. (2000) Variation in the mitochondrial control region in the Juan Fernandez fur seal (Arctocephalus philippii). Journal of Heredity. 91:371-377

WEBSITE - History of the Crittercam

National Geographic's Animal Cameras have grown gradually smaller over the years, and are commonly known as the Crittercam. One of their first prototypes was deployed on our old friend, the Juan Fernandez Fur Seal. These cameras help us get ever closer to seeing wild animals behaving naturally, without pesky humans disturbing their routines...
National Geographic's Crittercam is a research tool designed to be worn by wild animals. It combines video and audio recording with collection of environmental data such as depth, temperature, and acceleration.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

NEWS - Annual jabs pushed to protect kakapo

New Zealand Herald reports
Kakapo might require annual vaccinations to protect them against the bacteria that killed three of their number on Chalky Island, off the Fiordland coast, in July.

NEWS - Seabirds responsible for Kakapo infection deaths

News story on has an update on the recent Kakapo infections.
An infection that has killed three kakapo on a Fiordland island sanctuary was brought there by migratory sea birds, researchers said today.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

STUFF - Douglas Adams At The BBC

Just released is this 3 CD audio of "Douglas Adams at the BBC", featuring all manner of interviews and clips of his work. Includes a number of "Last Chance To See" extracts. You can buy it from

Click here to buy from

And if you've STILL not read "Last Chance To See" yet, get it right here from
Click here to buy this book from

Click here to buy this book from