Ellen DeGeneres is returning to television, this time to focus on gorilla conservation.

The Discovery Channel will air the two-hour special Saving the Gorillas: Ellen’s Next Adventure on September 23. The documentary follows DeGeneres, 65, as she travels to Rwanda to learn more about gorilla conservation efforts and contribute to these efforts by constructing the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Ellen DeGeneres Campus. The program arrives more than a year after the comedian’s daytime chat show ended.

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A trailer for the upcoming program, which will air the same week as World Gorilla Day, shows the labor that went into making the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Ellen DeGeneres Campus a reality, including excursions to the wild to meet gorillas up close.

In the video, DeGeneres goes into the woods with her wife, Portia de Rossi, and a group of conservationists to study a gorilla family.

“Nothing keeps you more present than sitting with gorillas,” adds DeGeneres in the trailer’s voice-over. The film then transitions to a shot of the conservationists holding hands while a gorilla licks its infant on the cheek. “There’s nothing more special in the world than seeing an exchange of love,” another voice says.

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The Ellen DeGeneres Campus arose from de Rossi’s yearning for a “nice birthday gift for her wife,” which led to the couple embarking on “one of the largest architectural and landscaping projects in the history of Rwanda,” according to a Discovery Channel announcement.

Before the university could open, DeGeneres and her team had to overcome various challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes, as shown in the special.

“It all culminates in a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them, their family, and friends as they celebrate the opening of The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund,” according to the press release. “It’s an adventure full of laughter, tears, and experiences none of them could have imagined.

“Everything has led me to just have a big enough platform to say, ‘Look at the work Dian Fossey did,'” DeGeneres said in a statement, referring to Dian Fossey, the pioneering primatologist, conservationist, and author of Gorillas in the Mist.

According to a Discovery Channel statement, the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund has entertained over 40,000 guests since it opened in February 2022. In addition, the campus has hosted over 7,500 local schoolchildren, “providing them with the opportunity to learn more about the biodiversity in their backyard and have hands-on experiences in nature.”


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