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Why this zoo is trying to talk Toys R Us mascot ‘Geoffrey the Giraffe’ out of retirement.

There are less than 100,000 giraffes left in the world, and they need our help.

Why this zoo is trying to talk Toys R Us mascot ‘Geoffrey the Giraffe’ out of retirement.

One Texas zoo is making the biggest play for a long-time superstar since the Lakers signed LeBron James.

Now that all remaining Toys R Us stores in the U.S. have officially closed, the San Antonio Zoo is offering the company a cheeky way to let its nostalgia-fueled brand live on.

Geoffrey the Giraffe has been the face of Toys R Us for more than half a century, but no longer. Rather than let him fade into obscurity — like the Frito Bandito or the Noid — the San Antonio Zoo offered Geoffrey the chance to become its mascot for the zoo's giraffe conservation efforts. They even put together a YouTube video making their case.


While Toys R Us is unlikely to donate the mascot to the zoo, the campaign is an adorable way to raise awareness about the real troubles facing giraffes today.

According to estimates by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there are fewer than 100,000 giraffes left in the world. This marks an alarming 40% drop in the past 30 years, stemming largely from human activity. If we don't take action, at least some giraffe species will be lost to extinction.

Every June 21, GCF organizes World Giraffe Day. This year's event centered around Operation Twiga III, an effort to relocate Nubian giraffes in Uganda for conservation purposes. While giraffes don't serve a function crucial to humans' survival (the way bees and butterflies are needed for pollination), their plight is just another example of humanity's destruction of nature's beauty. Do we really want a world without giraffes?

World Giraffe Day 2018

Happy #WorldGiraffeDay!Let's all stand tall for our long-necked friends today! #WGD #GiraffeConservation

Posted by Giraffe Conservation Foundation on Thursday, June 21, 2018

You can help by donating to the San Antonio Zoo's GoFundMe page or making a contribution directly to the GCF.

The zoo hopes to raise $100,000 for the GCF to aid their goals of "supporting a sustainable future where all giraffe populations and sub-species are protected and secured in the wild."

While there's no news on whether Toys R Us will allow its recently-unemployed cartoon mascot to join in the campaign, you can't really blame the zoo for shooting its shot.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.