Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged $43 million to help restore wildlife in the Galápagos Islands.
The actor’s own conservation charity, Re:wild, have teamed up with the Galápagos National Park Directorate, Island Conservation, and local communities to rewild the Galapagos Islands, which is home to 54 threatened species and is well-known for its diversity of wildlife and fauna.
The Galapagos Islands, 563 miles (906km) west of Ecuador, are a Unesco World Heritage site. The archipelago is made up of 234 islands, inlets and rocks. Four of them are home to some 30,000 people.
Under plans unveiled by Re:wild, the rewilding partnership aims to restore Floreana Island, one of the smaller islands of the archipelago with a rich history, and to reintroduce 13 locally extinct species, including the Floreana mockingbird. The funds pledged by Leonardo DiCaprio will also support a captive breeding programme and other activities to prevent the extinction of the pink iguana, of which there are only 200 left in the wild, living in the shadow of an active volcano.
Other projects will help protect the Galapagos marine wildlife from the impacts of tourism.
Leonardo DiCaprio said: “When I traveled to the Galapagos Islands, I met with Paula Castaño and other environmental heroes in Ecuador working day in and day out to save one of the most irreplaceable places on the planet,” the Titanic star said in a statement.
“I’m excited to share her team’s work and to support the longstanding effort to protect and restore these iconic islands, alongside the team at Re:wild.
“Around the world, the wild is declining. We have degraded three-quarters of the wild places and pushed more than one million species to the brink of extinction.
“Fortunately, conservation leaders like Paula are showing us that it is not too late to reverse this alarming trend. Re:wild offers a bold vision to amplify and scale the local solutions being led by Indigenous peoples and local communities, nongovernmental organizations, companies, and government agencies, to help increase their impact around the world.
“The environmental heroes that the planet needs are already here. Now we all must rise to the challenge and join them.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.