Ellen DeGeneres' Earth Day Doc Endangered Shows How to Save Animals on the Brink of Extinction
Just in time for Earth Day, Endangered is here to explore how humans can help protect the world's most at-risk animals.
The documentary, which premieres on discovery+ on Earth Day (April 22), is narrated and executive produced by Ellen DeGeneres. The film follows conservationists worldwide as they fight to save seven different endangered species from the brink of extinction. Along with supporting Endangered, DeGeneres is contributing to the conservationists' work through The Ellen Fund.
One of the species in Endangered's spotlight is the giraffe. In the documentary, viewers will see Dr. Julian Fennessy, the director and co-founder of Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), working with his team to protect the Earth's dwindling giraffe populations.
"GCF is dedicated to securing a future for all giraffe populations in the wild. There are only about 117,000 giraffes remaining in all of Africa — that is one giraffe for every 4 African elephants, so it is time to act now before it is too late," Dr. Fennessy tells PEOPLE of the "silent extinction" he is working to stop.
To help save these towering creatures, GCF uses a multifaceted approach to conservation, Dr. Fennessy explains.
"GCF works on, manages, and supports giraffe conservation initiatives that concern all four species of giraffe in 16 African countries. Our work has an impact on over 100 million acres of giraffe habitat, and through conservation translocations, we have already increased giraffe habitat in Africa by over 5.1 million acres."
"Through our Twiga Tracker Initiative, we track and remotely monitor over 200 giraffes throughout Africa to learn more about their movements and habitat use. In Uganda, our Mobile Vet Team removes wire snares from giraffes and other wildlife, while through community outreach and environmental education, we work with local communities to raise awareness for giraffes and their conservation. We also support many African governments in developing and implementing giraffe conservation strategies and action plans," he adds of the many projects GCF has running to help these animals.
For the animal lovers who don't have the opportunity to track giraffes across Africa, Dr. Fennessy has some advice on how you can help the animals from home.
"You can stand tall for giraffes by telling your family and friends about the plight of the giraffe. Help us raise awareness for this important cause," he says, adding that support for GCF is a great way to help giraffes directly.
And giraffes need extra help because every day they are faced with the threats of habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and poaching. These stunning giants, who help the planet through their place in the ecosystem, now need the help of humans to survive and thrive.
"Giraffes, like all wildlife, are an important part of our ecosystem and play an important role in seed dispersal, as pollinators and opening up habitats for wildlife," Dr. Fennessy sys. "It would just be a sad testament to us humans — if we can't protect the world's tallest and one of Africa's most iconic species, what would that say about us humans?"
To learn more about GCF work and how you can help protect the Earth's precious animals, like giraffes, watch Endangered on discovery+.