Television

BBC celebrates 50th anniversary of Natural History Unit with 'Saving Planet Earth' initiative

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MUMBAI: UK pubcaster the BBC will commemorate the 50th anniversary of its Natural History Unit with a show Saving Planet Earth. This will be a wide-reaching series supporting animal conservation and airs in the UK later this year. It will be anchored by Sir David Attenborough and Alan Titchmarsh.

The show will have celebrities participaiting including Carol Thatcher, Fiona Bruce, Phil Tufnell and Saira Khan. They will explore the work of global conservation charities before appealing for public donations. The Saving Planet Earth season then culminates in a live fund raising finale.

Using previously unseen footage from BBC One's series Planet Earth Sir David explains how destruction of crucial habitat is affecting the future of many of the planet's animals.

He says, "Some scientists suggest that up to a quarter of animal species could be extinct by 2050. But it's not too late – you can be involved in Saving Planet Earth. If you are a child, this is your future. If you're a parent, it's your legacy. The time to act is now."

Titchmarsh joins Sir David to present the celebrity expeditions, featuring nine UK-based charities raising cash for global issues. The endangered animals featured in the documentaries are:

Crocodiles – Edith Bowman highlights how Cambodian crocodiles are threatened by the leather trade;

Tigers – Fiona Bruce travels to India where tigers are suffering because of habitat loss and poaching;

Turtles –- Saira Khan explores the problems of turtle egg stealing in Sri Lanka;

Orang-utans – Nick Knowles discovers that orang-utans in Borneo are suffering from the deforestation of their habitat for commercial crops;

Ethiopian wolves – Graham Norton reveals that Ethiopian wolves' numbers are being threatened by domestic dogs;

Elephants – Jack Osbourne finds that Namibian elephants are in competition with man for food and water;

Albatross – Carol Thatcher sees how long-line fishing is reducing albatross numbers in the Falklands;

Rhinoceros – Phil Tufnell travels to India to highlight the plight of rhinos still hunted for their horn;

Gorillas – Will Young finds out about the problems faced by lowland gorillas who are hunted for bushmeat and whose habitat, in Gabon, is being destroyed by logging.

Saving Planet Earth will also feature on CBBC and local BBC programming and on bbc.co.uk.

On CBBC seven kids have won the chance to step into Sir David's distinguished shoes to become part of the Saving Planet Earth team, reporting on the plight of globally endangered animals in the wild. And a host of celebrities, including Brian Blessed, Tom Conti, Sean Hughes, Myleene Klass and Shobna Gulati explore the plight of threatened wildlife across the UK.

From basking sharks in the South West of England to eagles in Scotland, the regional programmes will show how viewers can make a difference to their local patch and play their part in Saving Planet Earth.

Visitors to bbc.co.uk/savingplanetearth can find how they can join in the team effort to help endangered animals. These will range from details of the off-air fundraising events running throughout the summer to support Saving Planet Earth, ways of donating to the Saving Planet Earth fund and links to the conservation projects featured.

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