This January, the National Wildlife Federation is teaming up with Dolittle as the wildlife conservation partner to spread the message that each of us can, like Dolittle himself, be a Be a Voice for Wildlife. I had the pleasure of attending the recent Hollywood premiere and had a chance to talk with filmmakers and cast members. Here’s what I learned.

In the movie, Robert Downey Jr. electrifies as one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid re-imagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle. It’s through this unique ability and the bonds of love with his feathered, furred, and scaled friends that Dolittle overcomes personal adversity.

Kids will instantly bond with Dolittle’s incredible animal characters, which were created entirely with CGI. Whether it’s with the frightened-yet-brave gorilla Chee-Chee (Rami Malek), the smart and level-headed Poly the parrot (Emma Thompson), Yoshi the polar bear (John Cena) who doesn’t like the cold, or the adventure-loving giraffe Betsy (Selena Gomez), their distinct personalities and abilities will surely captivate the audience’s heart. The film also does a great job at highlighting the amazing abilities and traits unique to each species and the wonder of our natural world.

Dolittle is joined on his adventures by a young, self-appointed apprentice Tommy (Harry Collett) who represents the kid in all of us who wants to learn all about animals and help them survive.

As a lifelong animal-lover and naturalist, I’ve always fantasized about being able to communicate with animals and in turn, be a voice for our fellow creatures who cannot speak up for themselves. And I’m not alone. It’s a fantasy that is shared by millions of children—and the young-at-heart—and what has made the Dolittle character so popular for almost a century.

See Dolittle in theaters January 17th and get our list of Five Things you can do right now to help and Be a Voice for Wildlife.

At the National Wildlife Federation, we know that relating to animal characters like those in Dolittle inspires kids to learn more about real-life wild animals and creates an awareness of the issues affecting their survival.

Published: January 14, 2020