Best known for writing the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and for being a frood who really knew where his towel was, Douglas Adams was an author, comic radio dramatist, amateur musician and conservation enthusiast. He became a founder patron of Save the Rhino International (SRI) in 1994 and was a dedicated spokesperson for SRI right up until his death in 2001 at the age of 49.
Douglas became interested in conservation in 1985 after the Observer Colour Magazine sent him to investigate Madagascar’s endangered Aye-aye, accompanied by zoologist Mark Carwardine. This resulted in a radio series for the BBC and then a book, both entitled Last Chance to See, in which he and Mark visited rare species such as New Zealand’s Kakapo and the northern white rhinos of Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1992, this was made into a CD-ROM combination of audio book, e-book and picture slide show years before such things became fashionable.
Adams and Mark Carwardine contributed the ‘Meeting a Gorilla’ passage from Last Chance to See to the book The Great Ape Project. This book, edited by Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer launched a wider-scale project in 1993, which calls for the extension of moral equality to include all great apes, human or nonhuman.
Since 2003, SRI has held an annual Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture around the time of his birthday to raise money for rhino conservation projects.
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Douglas Adams has passed away, but we remember his charity work.
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