DiCaprio signed on earlier this year with the WWF to help save the endangered tiger, a species DiCaprio called “iconic.” 2010 is the celebration of the Chinese Year of the Tiger, but there are unfortunately only 3,200 tigers left in the wild. Tigers are illegally hunted and traded across Asia for their meat and for their bones, used in traditional Chinese medicine and to make tiger bone wine. Through stricter poaching laws and increased tiger habitat protection, the WWF hopes to double the number of wild tigers by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.
Although DiCaprio might be the dreamiest tiger ambassador, he isn’t the only celebrity standing up for the big cats. Dick Van Dyke joined DiCaprio as a tiger ambassador last week. Van Dyke filmed a PSA to encourage people to donate ten dollars towards tiger conservation.
Thankfully, world leaders are recognizing the plight of the tiger. The first-ever international summit on tiger conservation will be held in St. Petersburg this September, hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and World Bank President Robert Zoellick. Leaders from thirteen Asian countries will meet to discuss a plan of action to halt tiger population decline.
The WWF is currently seeking a representative from the Obama administration to attend the Tiger Summit. Although tigers only live in Asia, there are more tigers in captivity in the U.S. than in the wild around the world. Tell Obama to support tiger conservation.
Inception has been in theaters for less than two weeks, but it has already grossed over 220 million worldwide. The WWF hopes to raise 20 million for tiger conservation, and a movie ticket costs about the same as a donation. Hopefully Leonardo DiCaprio’s star power will influence people to make both purchases.