Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Leonardo DiCaprio: We Must Save the Last Place on Earth Where Orangutans, Tigers, Rhinos and Elephants Coexist

Animals
Leonardo DiCaprio: We Must Save the Last Place on Earth Where Orangutans, Tigers, Rhinos and Elephants Coexist

Leonardo DiCaprio is using his clout to protect the struggling Leuser Ecosystem, a precious rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia that's under threat from industrial development for palm oil.

The Oscar winning actor and prominent environmental activist spent the weekend in the forest with fellow actors Adrien Brody and Fisher Stevens. According to The Jakarta Post, the crew toured Mount Leuser National Park on Sunday where they stopped by the park's research facility and met three Sumatran orangutans.

During his visit, DiCaprio also posed for a photo with two conservationists and two endangered elephants. The Revenant star posted the image onto his Instagram page and in the accompanying caption, he warned that the expansion of palm oil plantations are "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."

He added that his philanthropic foundation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, is supporting local partners to establish "a mega-fauna sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem."

The iconic Leuser Ecosystem, located in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, consists of 6.5 million acres of tropical lowland rainforests, mountains and peatlands. As DiCaprio noted, the area is the last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild. Without protection, these wildlife species are likely to be pushed to extinction.

On his Twitter account, DiCaprio posted the same photo from his trip and tweeted, "Stand with to ," referring to his support of Forest, Nature and Environment of Aceh (HAkA), a Sumatra-based NGO which works to protect and restore the priceless ecosystem.

In January, Aceh citizens filed a class action lawsuit against the Aceh provincial government's Spatial Land Use Plan, "which would open Leuser's forests up to clearing for logs, mining and oil palm," Mongabay reported.

DiCaprio's tweet also included a Change.org petition that urges Indonesian President Joko Widodo to cancel the spatial plan. Plaintiff Dahlan M. Isa wrote in the petition:

This fight has been going for years, and had involved many people and organizations in Aceh. The Governor and Aceh Parliament has been ignoring us. I wish that you could hear our aspiration and take action. What I wish is not a complicated matter, and has a clear legal standing. If you and your officials in The Ministry of Domestic Affairs can implement the Minister of Domestic Affairs Decree No. 650-441/2014, by canceling the Aceh Spatial Plan 2013-2033 that excluding the Leuser Ecosystem in to the National Strategic Area. The cancellation will become an important beginning for developing the spatial plan that inline with our interest, the people of Aceh.

Leuser is not only a biodiversity hotspot, it provides more than 4 million people with water, clean air and disaster mitigation. The ecosystem is also critical in helping to regulate the Earth's climate by absorbing and storing carbon in its lowland rainforests and peatlands.

The lawsuit and the movement to protect the Leuser Ecosystem is captured in this video:

DiCaprio's support of Leuser coincides with his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, where he announced his foundation's $15 million commitment to environmental projects, including one that protects the Leuser Ecosystem from what DiCaprio described as the “invasive and destructive practices" of the palm oil industry.

DiCaprio also announced his foundation's support to organizations working to protect the Leuser Ecosystem, including San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network.

“We are in a race against time to stop the extinction of the Sumatran orangutan, tiger, rhino and elephant," Rainforest Action Network's program director Ginger Cassady said in a statement. “Companies like PepsiCo that profit from conflict palm oil connected to the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem must act immediately to break the link between the products they sell and rainforest destruction, labor abuses and climate pollution."

The organization noted in a press release that PepsiCo consumes more than 427,500 tonnes of palm oil per year and its consumption of this controversial commodity is on the rise.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Maryland to Become First State to Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides for Consumer Use

Japan Kills 333 Minke Whales Including 200 Pregnant Females

Photo Ark: One Man's Journey to Save the World's Most Endangered Species

Eastern Monarch Butterflies at Risk of Extinction

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less