During my sleepless night, I decided to watch episode 2 of Last Chance to See which recently screened on the BBC UK and which arrived from the warehouse of Amazon.co.uk into my letter box last week.
Last Chance to See had a first incarnation in the 80s when Mark Carwardine, zoologist, writer, photographer, took off on an adventure with Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker books, to investigate the status of some of the world’s most endangered species. Their adventures formed the basis of a radio series and a book, Last Chance to See.
Twenty years later, Mark invited Stephen Fry to join him on another adventure to catch up with the animals he and Douglas had met.
Last night as I was watching Mark and Stephen search for the very very endangered Northern White Rhino in Africa, there were signs their search would not end well. One of the dedicated conservationists they were interviewing informed them there were only four Northern White Rhinos left and they were currently roaming the plains of the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After frollicking with a Southern White Rhino, Mark was on the phone to a contact in the Congo where violent civil war had just broken out. By the end of the episode, it was reported that the chances of the last of Northern White Rhinos having survived the fighting were highly unlikely. A sub-species wiped out during the course of a television programme.
Not even the sight of the baby chimpanzees rescued from animal traders being accepted instantly by surrogate mothers could gladden my heart.
R.I.P. Northern White Rhinos.