Mark Carwardine

Mark Carwardine bigraphy, stories - Conservationist, presenter, and writer

Mark Carwardine : biography

09 March 1959 –

Mark Carwardine (born 9 March 1959) is a zoologist who achieved widespread recognition for his Last Chance to See conservation expeditions with Douglas Adams, first aired on BBC Radio 4 in 1990. Since then he has become a leading and outspoken conservationist, and a prolific broadcaster, columnist and photographer.

Radio and television

In 1989 the BBC Radio 4 series Last Chance to See and the subsequent book (1990) described eight expeditions by Carwardine and writer Douglas Adams to find and report on some of the most endangered species around the world. These were the aye-aye in Madagascar, the Komodo dragon in Indonesia, the kakapo in New Zealand, the Amazonian manatee in Brazil, the Yangtze river dolphin in China, the Juan Fernández fur seal in Chile, the northern white rhino in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Rodrigues fruit bat in Mauritius.

Carwardine also presented the weekly half-hour radio programme Nature, on BBC Radio 4, for many years. He has also been the presenter of many other programmes for BBC Radio 4.

In autumn 2009, he joined forces with Stephen Fry to present a follow-up to the original Last Chance to See with the late Douglas Adams. This was the six-part BBC2 television series, also called Last Chance to See. (2012-08-18). Retrieved on 2013-03-19. which concerned the very same endangered species as in the original and how they have fared twenty years on. The series not only updated the situation with most of the endangered species featured in the original series but looked at some new ones, including the blue whale in Baja California, Mexico.

The Museum of Life

On BBC2 in October 2010 there was an additional Last Chance to See special by Carwardine and Fry about the northern white rhino, Last Chance to See: Return of the Rhino, which followed the re-introduction of zoo-raised rhinos into the wild.

Stephen Fry and the Great American Oil Spill


Carwardine has an extensive collection of wildlife, nature and environment photographs taken on all seven continents and in more than a hundred countries. Since 2005, he has also been Chairman of the judging panel for the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, run by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife.

Wildlife Art Company

Carwardine has recently started a wildlife illustration agency, the Wildlife Art Company, which sells natural-history illustrations to publishers.. Wildlife Art Company. Retrieved on 2013-03-19.

Last Chance to See kakapo incident

In 2009, Carwardine and television presenter Stephen Fry visited Codfish Island in New Zealand as part of a series for the Last Chance to See, focusing on endangered species around the world. While they were filming a rare kakapo bird called Sirocco, the bird hopped onto Carwardine’s head and attempted to mate with him. The scene itself and Fry’s commentary, "Sorry, but this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. You are being shagged by a rare parrot", proved an instant television hit, being featured on news items around the world.

A video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube,, YouTube. where it received more than 700,000 views in the first week. A year on, more than 2 million people had viewed the clip.

Wildlife tours

Carwardine was a founding director of the wildlife travel companies Discover the World, WildOceans and Ocean Wanderers, and now runs whale-watching tours to Baja California, Mexico. and occasional specialist wildlife photography trips.


Carwardine has written more than 50 books. Most recently he has written Mark Carwardine’s Ultimate Wildlife Experiences (Wanderlust Publications, 2011), which is a travellers’ guide to the natural world. In 2009, he wrote Last Chance to See: In the Footsteps of Douglas Adams (HarperCollins). This is a sequel to the best-selling book, Last Chance to See, which he wrote with the late Douglas Adams (author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Other books that Carwardine has written include the award-winning Shark Watcher’s Handbook and Eyewitness Handbooks: Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, which is the best-selling cetacean field guide ever published (nearly a million copies in print). Carwardine also writes a monthly column in BBC Wildlife magazine, and has written hundreds of articles for newspapers and magazines.