Leonardo DiCaprio travels to Sumatra to support rainforest conservation efforts

30 March 2016 General News

Leonardo DiCaprio travels to Sumatra to support rainforest conservation efforts

Mahita Gajanan | The Guardian | 29th March 2016

The actor worked with local groups to at Mount Leuser National Park, where the ecosystem that helps regulate Earth’s climate faces developmental threats

Fresh off a best actor win at the 2016 Oscars during which he made a speech that touched on the consequences of climate change, Leonardo DiCaprio paid a visit to Mount Leuser national park in Sumatra, Indonesia, to lend support to local groups working to preserve the area’s ecosystem.

DiCaprio posted a photo from his journey on Instagram, writing that the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is “supporting local partners to establish a mega-fauna sanctuary” in the Leuser ecosystem, a landscape endangered by palm oil plantations, mining, logging and other development threats.

Writing on Instagram, under a photo of the actor standing with Indonesian conservationists and two endangered elephants, DiCaprio said the rainforests in the ecosystem are “considered one of the world’s best remaining habitat for the critically endangered Sumatran #elephant. In these forests, ancient elephant migratory paths are still used by some of the last #wild herds of Sumatran elephants.

“But the expansion of Palm Oil plantations is fragmenting the #forest and cutting off key elephant migratory corridors, making it more difficult for elephant families to find adequate sources of food and water,” DiCaprio continued.

According to a statement from HAkA, an NGO based in Aceh, a region of Indonesia, the ecosystem “plays a critical role in helping regulate the Earth’s climate by absorbing carbon pollution and storing massive amounts of carbon in its lowland rainforests and peatlands.

“Millions of local people depend directly on the Leuser Ecosystem for their livelihoods and as the central source of their clean water supply,” the statement said. “Its forested watersheds also minimise the number and severity of environmental disasters in the region, which already kill many and cost millions of dollars each year.”

DiCaprio’s foundation, established in 1998, will partner with Acehnese conservationist Rudi Putra to build a wildlife sanctuary in the ecosystem, constructing barriers, training wildlife patrols and rangers and reporting habitat destruction.


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