Some years ago Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a story about the world being unexpectedly demolished by hideous creatures from another planet. It was meant as a joke... Now, animal by animal, tree by tree, the world is being demolished around us; not by Vogons, or people from other planets, but by humans.
Douglas decided it was time to think about the absurdities of life on Earth, and what we are doing to it, and so wrote “Last Chance to See,” a book chronicling his journey around the world looking for animals on the brink of extinction.
Then in 1994 Douglas joined Save the Rhino International on their first Kilimanjaro Challenge to help raise money and awareness of the plight of the worlds few remaining rhinos. A founder Patron of the charity, Douglas continued actively supporting their work until his untimely death in 2001.
Now, in Douglas’ memory his sister and brother, Jane and James Thrift are preparing to take on the challenge of Africa’s highest peak, and Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, all 19,340 feet of it. The aim of the expedition is to carry on Douglas’ work in raising money and awareness for Save the Rhinos crucial projects in Africa.
Douglas had many interests, and like everything in his life, he never did things by halves. His passion for music led to him owning 26 left handed guitars, and a place on stage with Pink Floyd for his 42nd birthday, for computers saw him become an Applemaster and inveterate authority on ways in which technology should be integrated into our lives, and on conservation to be described by Mark Carwardine, world renowned zoologist and co-author of "Last Chance to See" as " the person who has done more for wildlife conservation than anyone else I know."
James Thrift said, "Douglas' passion for things was infectious, and I suppose that is why I can no longer sit by and watch the wholesale destruction of such a magnificent species as the Rhino that has been around for 45 million years. For them to be virtually wiped out in under a century is unforgivable, and for what, to make Yemeni dagger handles. This isn't animal cruelty, it's animal genocide."
“In the last year we’ve appeared in the movie of Hitchhikers, walked the red carpet at the premiere, so climbing Kilimanjaro was the logical next step,” James said, adding “It’s going to be a tough climb, the effects of altitude sickness at that height can be very unpleasant, but if it helps raise awareness of the real effort going on in Africa to save the rhinos then it will have been worth it.”
James Thrift lives with his family in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Apart from having the extremely good taste of being a well seen member of this forum, he owns and runs “1770” a lifestyle company selling contemporary furniture and accessories from shops in Dorset and Wiltshire. James, together with Jane were the founders of the Douglas Adams Memorial Lectures.
Jane Thrift lives near Dorchester in Dorset. She is a registered nurse, graduate zoologist and a complimentary health adviser. Jane is a Trustee Director of EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency)