In St. Petersburg, Russia Leonardo DiCaprio pledged $1 million to World Wildlife Fund to benefit wild tigers. DiCaprio is a member of the board of directors. His difficult trip to Russia involved a commercial jet plane that caught fire and turned back to New York, and then a smaller plane, rocked by Atlantic storms that ran out of fuel and had to land in Finland’s capital Helsinki for refueling before eventually making it to St. Petersburg.
In a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Putin, DiCaprio, who is half-Russian, said he first became interested in tiger conservation when tiger experts from the WWF, one of Big Cat Rescue’s partners in the International Tiger Coalition, had addressed him.
“Mr. DiCaprio has not just come to us, but simply burst through the frontline. Excuse me if you may, but in our country people usually say – that’s what we call a real man,” Putin said. “And I think that if people with such character would be responsible for defending nature or a tiger in this particular case, we’re destined for success.”
World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick, who has backed the tiger forum during the organizing period, told participants the World Bank is working with tiger range countries and nongovernmental organizations to save wild tigers. Our favorite Zoellick quote is, “We want to see poachers behind bars, not tigers.”