Leonardo DiCaprio boosts Nepal bid to save tigers
WASHINGTON – A foundation set up by actor Leonardo DiCaprio pitched in $3 million Thursday to save tigers in Nepal, whose plan to double the big cats’ population has shown success.
The “Titanic” heartthrob warned that “time is running out” for tigers, whose global population in the wild has dwindled to an estimated 3,200 after years of poaching and habitat loss.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation channeled the $3 million through the World Wildlife Fund environmental group for improvements in the Terai Arc Landscape, a stretch of ecologically diverse protected lands bordering India.
“I am hopeful this grant will help them exceed the goal of doubling the number of these noble creatures in the wild,” DiCaprio said in a statement.
The grant will fund improvements in border posts and more sophisticated tools to monitor poaching.
Nepal has set its goal of doubling the big cats’ population by 2022, the next year of the tiger in the Chinese zodiac.
Nepal’s government said in July that its population of Royal Bengal tigers in the wild has soared 64 percent to 198 in just four years.
DiCaprio, who stars in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film “The Wolf of Wall Street,” in May led an art auction that raised $38.8 million for environmental charity work.