From about 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to approximately 3,200 today, tigers have been hunted mercilessly and are on the edge of extinction.
One rather famous tiger supporter who attended the conference in Russia is Leonardo DiCaprio. In order to give the conference a kick-start and to do his part to save this beautiful species, Leo committed $1 million to the World Wildlife Fund for “urgent tiger conservation efforts.”
DiCaprio is actually a WWF board member and “recently visited Nepal and Bhutan with WWF experts, touring tiger habitat on elephant back alongside antipoaching staff, meeting with community members, and learning how WWF scientists monitor the park’s tigers,” WWF reports.
“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.”
Of course, it is great to have anyone working on this critical issue, but stars like Leo can bring so much more attention and support to such topics. Plus, $1 million ain’t no small donation.
“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.”
Tigers still exist in the wild in 13 countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
“Money raised by DiCaprio and WWF through Save Tigers Now will go to fund antipoaching efforts and habitat protection in the 12 priority landscapes across Asia that WWF believes represent the best locations to maintain viable, thriving populations of tigers,” WWf says. “The money will also fund advocacy and outreach activities to build support for tiger conservation.”
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Photo Credit: law_keven via flickr (CC license)