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The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has awarded a $3 million grant to World Wildlife Fund as part of an initiative to help Nepal double its wild tiger population by 2022.
The grant will support WWF’s work with the government of Nepal and local communities in Nepal’s Terai Arc landscape to “strengthen anti-poaching patrols, protect core areas for tiger breeding, restore critical corridors for their dispersal and expansion and continuously monitor tiger populations.” The year 2022 was chosen because it’s the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.
“Time is running out for the world’s remaining 3,200 tigers, largely the result of habitat destruction and escalating illegal poaching,” said DiCaprio, a WWF board member. “WWF, the government of Nepal and local communities are on the front lines of this battle and I am hopeful this grant will help them exceed the goal of doubling the number of these noble creatures in the wild. I am grateful for the amazing support our foundation has received — especially to our partners at Christie’s who helped create an historic night for conservation fundraising with the 11th Hour Auction.”
The gift coincides with the third anniversary of the Global Tiger Summit and represents the first funds awarded from the Christie’s 11th Hour Charity Auction in May. The event, created by DiCaprio, raised a record $38.8 million for conservation in a single night.
DiCaprio first joined forces with WWF in 2010 to launch Save Tigers Now, a global campaign to raise political, financial and public support to save tigers in the wild. The WWF said previous support from the his foundation has already helped boost the number of tigers in the Terai’s Bardia National Park from an estimated 18 to 50 tigers.
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Melvin Van Peebles