Leonardo DiCaprio has long since become one of Hollywood’s most committed activists for environmental and animal conservation movements. He recently gave his support to the bill banning the shark fin trade in California, and was added to the jury for the Zayed Future Energy Prize because of his environmental work.
Now, the actor/activist will be leading a campaign by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) raising awareness of endangered elephants. IFAW’s Animal Action Education program features a campaign each year during Animal Action Week. This year, October 3-9 will be all about elephants and how you can help protect them ivory poaching, a serious and continuing threat to elephant populations. The organization’s Animal Action page provides several ways young activists can get involved with the campaign including collecting petition signatures, submitting artwork, and educational videos.
DiCaprio says, “In the past century, the number of elephants in the wild has declined by 50 percent. Their disappearance could devastate ecosystems and have a lasting impact on the biodiversity of our planet. I hope this program will inspire and empower you to help protect elephants worldwide.”
According to the Press Association, he added, “Many people around the world still have no idea that elephants are killed for their ivory tusks, and that’s why public education is so important. There were 1.3 million elephants in 1979; rampant poaching and other factors have reduced that by more than half to an estimated 500,000…Authorities in 85 countries have seized almost 400 tonnes of ivory on the black market since the 1989 ivory trade ban.”
IFAW has expressed their enthusiasm at having Leo on-board and hopes that it will get the elephants the attention and help that they need. President Fred O’Regan says, “We are honoured to have Leonardo’s support for our Animal Action campaign to stem the ivory trade. With his help, we hope to create a groundswell for elephant protection that can’t be ignored.”