Leonardo DiCaprio Launches $3 Million Australia Wildlife Fund
Leonardo DiCaprio has made a hugely significant contribution towards the desperate efforts to protect Australian wildlife as the bushfires continue to rage.
DiCaprio, 45, has long made his dedication to environmental issues clear, with his Earth Alliance partnership having been established to protect vulnerable wildlife and threatened ecosystems on a global scale.
Earth Alliance has now pledged $3 million to launch the Australia Wildfire Fund, which will work to address the ongoing bushfire crisis in Australia, alongside organisations such as Aussie Ark, Bush Heritage and Wires Wildlife Rescue.
According to Aussie Ark, donations will be made in US dollars:
The Australia Wildlife Fund is an international response to the catastrophic bushfires raging through the country, launched with a $3 million USD commitment from Earth Alliance.
The website has stated that 100% of donations will go towards assisting local firefighting efforts, supporting affected communities and rescuing wildlife, as well as implementing long-term solutions to ‘restore and repopulate unique ecosystems destroyed by the wildfires’.
This will reportedly involve working to improve climate resilience and to reduce the threat of wildfires in the future.
According to statistics provided on the Aussie Ark website, 20 million acres of land have been burned during the wildfire crisis, resulting in the deaths of at least 27 people.
More than 2,000 homes have been left destroyed, while around one billion animals have been killed, either directly or indirectly, by the flames.
Furthermore, 350 million tonnes of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere which is equal to two-thirds of Australia’s yearly emissions from man-made sources, as the New York Post reports.
Earth Alliance is co-chaired by DiCaprio, businesswoman Laurene Powell Jobs, and investor Brian Sheth, with the shared aim of bringing together ‘the best minds in science, conservation and philanthropy to urgently respond to a growing climate crisis and the staggering loss of biodiversity threatening the stability of life on Earth’.
In November, the Academy Award winner showed his support for the people of Australia by re-posting a deeply affecting statement from Aussie Ark:
Australian conservation efforts need a radical overhaul. Mitigating the intensity of these fires, mostly set by humans and their activities, can be achieved by restoring our native ecosystem engineers, such as bandicoots, bettongs and potoroos.
These species help to maintain healthy forests by continually turning over and breaking down forest leaf litter, thereby drastically reducing fuel load. In their absence, fires are more intense, often reaching the treetops, which can affect populations of species already on the brink, like the Koala.
Slow growing and ancient Australian East coast temperate forests are of global significance, as these forests have some of the highest carbon storage on the planet. Fires of this intensity threaten their very existence but managing wildlife to reduce fire intensity and protect forests is underappreciated for its importance in reducing the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Aussie Ark works with Australia’s most threatened and imperiled wildlife, several of which are extinct on the mainland. Native wildlife conservation sanctuaries provide refuge, as well as source populations for rewilding and restoring Australia’s native ecosystems.
You can donate to Aussie Ark’s Australia Wildlife Fund here.
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CreditsAussie Ark and 2 others
New York Post