26 November 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio shells out $1 million to save tigers

If you have ever doubted Leonardo DiCaprio’s commitment to tiger conservation—which is quite doubtful— the star of Inception and Titanic can now provide about one million examples of how serious he is when it comes to saving the endangered animal.

The 36-year-old actor has pledged $1 million to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) “for urgent tiger conservation efforts through his Fund at the California Community Foundation.”

“It's been a pleasure to work with Leo. He cares deeply about the fate of tigers and the human communities with whom they share their habitat. He is committing his time, his wealth, and most importantly, his talent to this cause," said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. “His financial commitment will spark urgent on-the-ground conservation for tigers. His storytelling will inspire people around the world to help."

According to the WWF, tiger populations throughout Asia have decreased from a robust 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to a mere 3,200 today.

"Illegal poaching of tigers for their parts and massive habitat loss due to palm oil, timber and paper production are driving this species to extinction,” said DiCaprio. “If we don’t take action now, one of the most iconic animals on our planet could be gone in just a few decades. By saving tigers, we can also protect some of our last remaining ancient forests and improve the lives of indigenous communities."

In addition to his extremely generous donation, DiCaprio also attended a tiger conservation summit this week in St. Petersburg, Russia. The event, hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, was used to announce the Global Tiger Recovery Program; an initiative which aims to double the population of wild tigers by 2022.

Eric Fortney | @elfortney | email
Eric is the co-founder and executive editor of the animal rights and eco-friendly news source, This Dish Is Veg. In addition to his work at TDIV, Eric is a father of three, runner, and lover of the outdoors.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/chaubaby