Tiger Conservation Critical To Biodiversity
The $3 million grant was awarded to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the third anniversary of the Global Tiger Summit. It is hoped the funding will help Nepal to double its wild tiger numbers by 2022, supporting the charity’s work with the Nepal government and local communities in Nepal’s Terai Arc landscape.
“Time is running out for the world’s remaining 3,200 tigers, largely the result of habitat destruction and escalating illegal poaching.” says DiCaprio.
The grant is the first funding awarded from a major charity auction in May: Christie’s 11th Hour. The auction, created by the actor, raised $38.8 million for conservation in one night.
The 2010 Global Tiger Summit’s goal is to double the number of wild tigers by 2022, the Chinese Year of the Tiger. Nepal is on target to become one of the first tiger range countries to achieve this. WWF and its partners will also use the grant to help local communities. The grant supports insurance funds, for instance, to help families cope with the loss of livestock to predators. The donation will also help communities via conservation by creating income-generating activities through tourism, eg handicrafts and organic vegetable production; a method proven to work by involving local people in the benefits of conservation.
Previous investment in programs in Nepal that include anti-poaching patrols, protecting tiger corridors, and monitoring tiger populations have proven successful says WWF. Initiatives have seen a growth in the number of tigers in the Terai’s Bardia National Park from an estimated 18 to 50 tigers. The WWF said on Thursday that the money from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, set up by the 39-year-old star of The Great Gatsby and the upcoming film The Wolf Of Wall Street, will be used for an initiative to double the number of tigers in Nepal by 2022 – the next Chinese year of the tiger.
“His foundation is all about delivering real results for conservation on the ground and empowering local communities; nowhere is that more evident than in Nepal,” Carter Roberts, the president and CEO of the WWF, said in a statement. Nepal’s tigers, known as the Panthera tigris, have been classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with numbers declining over the years.