Anyone who has seen a sad monkey in a cage might quickly conclude zoos are the wrong way to treat animals.

Bad treatment in such places was likely the standard years ago — and still continues in uncertified privately-owned operations, as was certainly on display in “Tiger King.”

But more and more, zoos and aquariums have been stepping up their efforts not only to provide better, more natural conditions for their animals, but also increasing methods of preserving and protecting them, attempting to prevent what would otherwise be likely extinction for an estimated 1 million species. 

That’s the point of Matthew R. Brady’s documentary for American Humane, “Escape from Extinction.” American Humane — not to be confused with the American Humane Society — is the group responsible for certifying “No animals were harmed” in films and television productions. 

Brady, who previously directed the group’s Hero Dog Awards telecast, steps up here to combine stunning nature footage with interviews with scientists and zoologists who all vouch for certified zoos and aquariums and their programs to help threatened species with the ultimate goal of returning them to the wild. 

The narrator throughout the film is no less than Helen Mirren, who provides an authoritative voice both familiar and humane. 

With a script by Alex Vincent Blumberg and Peter Meadows, the film lays out its case succinctly and with species numbers that tick dangerously low (or sometimes to zero) or gratifyingly tick upwards until they are no longer out of the danger zone.

It’s presented so clearly, you’re almost tempted to take notes while watching. As such “Escape from Extinction” may be more effective in classrooms in a smaller, more succinct package than the hour and a half feature length here. As it is, there are a wide array of examples, on land and in the sea, of efforts to turn around extinction due to deforestation, global warming, increased wildfires and growing pollution, particularly of plastics in oceans.

One prime example is that of the killer whale that became beloved worldwide after the popularity of the film “Free Willy” 30 years ago. Kieko, the orca who was seen in the film as the Willy whose climax was his escape from an adventure park in the Pacific Northwest, was himself freed from a Mexican amusement park 10 years after the original film but died months later, having never learned to integrate with other pods of orcas or feed himself in the wild. 

There is no consensus on this analysis — or this entire issue, and the film would be helped by at least listing some of the arguments on the other side. 

As the examples pile up, it’s clear they could have made their point more quickly and effectively. But the filmmakers seem certain that there is no downside in maximizing their case, to let the public know how much zoos and aquariums are doing behind the scenes in their conservation efforts. 

In that, it’s a fine public service, quite beautifully shot (from what I imagine are a variety of sources) and logically laid out. 

“Escape from Extinction” is available on Peacock and Amazon Prime.