Now that’s wild.
Leonardo DiCaprio has been standing firm in his commitment to help preserve the world’s wildlife and endangered species. And now, the Oscar-winning actor, environmentalist and advocate – who has continually sounded the alarm on critical issues like global warming and wildlife extinction – is basking in some truly encouraging news.
World Wildlife Fund – which has been working in tandem with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation – and the Global Tiger Forum have announced that the world’s wild tiger population has increased for the first time in more than a century.
The actor’s foundation has been an intrinsic player in the fight to save the world’s wild tiger population, funneling $6.2 million toward conservation efforts since 2010.
The population now stands at 3,890 across 13 countries including Nepal, India and Russia – up from an estimated 3,200 in 2010. Conservationists are hoping to see that number double by 2022.
“Tigers are some of the most vital and beloved animals on Earth,” DiCaprio, 41, said in a statement. “With our partners at WWF, my Foundation has supported major efforts to double the number of tigers in the wild. In Nepal, our efforts have produced one of the greatest areas of progress in tiger conservation, which is helping drive this global increase in population.”
He added: “I am so proud that our collective efforts have begun to make progress toward our goal, but there is still so much to be done. I am optimistic about what can be achieved when governments, communities, conservationists and private foundations like ours come together to tackle global challenges.”
DiCaprio – who last July raised a staggering $40 million to help bolster his foundation’s wildlife and environmental protection efforts – recently completed a trip to Indonesia, where he met with conservationists, got up close with elephants and orangutans, and toured the Southeast Asian nation to help raise awareness in the fight against deforestation.
His trip proved to be a lightning rod for controversy, as local officials sparred over the actor’s criticism of the nation’s palm-oil industry – and its impact on animal habitats – amid claims that DiCaprio could eventually be blacklisted from the country for his comments.
“My view is that DiCaprio’s concerns are both sincere and substantial, and he has certainly acted in good faith,” Indonesia’s minister of the environment and forestry later said. “In fact, we largely share his concerns on this matter.”