The photo shows a Sumatran elephant tugging at Leonardo DiCaprio’s trousers as they share a photo op together near an area that is being destroyed and threatening the species’ very chance to live. Leonardo (alongside two environmentalists and another elephant, heavily tusked) is reaching back with a rub to the trunk of the elephant who seems to be acknowledging the Oscar winning ( The Revenant ) actor’s offer of philanthropic help (elephant philanthropy, that is!)
The “ancient elephant migratory paths” that are disappearing , cutting off vital sources of “food and water for elephant families,” are not the work of beast but of man. Without regard to wildlife who inhabit the area companies ,who primarily support the local palm oil plantations, have stormed into the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia with a vengeance taking out precious land (“deforestation“) in a habitat that once protected our “critically endangered” elephants.
Forests are continually being destroyed, all for the commercial production of Palm Oil *, or for mining, logging or “pulp & paper plantations”. And this is happening in a “rainforest ecosystem” that even provides sustenance to humans ** and harbor (also food, water, & shelter) for other species of protected wildlife.
Speaking out for our elephants once again on his March 2016 trip to Indonesia Leonardo is working to make a difference for both humans and wildlife. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has presented a plan that, while it may not bode well in some circles , is a way to establish a sanctuary (initially 200,000 hectare / 494,210.763 acres) for Sumatran elephants, orangutans, tigers, rhinos.
The plan is a way for humans and elephants to peacefully coexist. The plan is a way for humans and elephants to peacefully coexist. The plan is a collaboration among humans that cannot fail to save endangered wildlife.
For the sake of our Sumatran elephants all humans must set aside a moment of heartfelt introspection and ask if we (& future generations) can live with the consequences of our destructive nature.
There just can’t be a world without elephants. There just can’t.
Thank you Leonardo DiCaprio for using your standing in the world to work for the greater good of our elephants (and other endangered wildlife who have no voices). If you ever need a champion for elephants I am there.
* “More than 87 percent of the world production of palm oil comes from Indonesia and Malaysia.”
** “In Aceh, Indonesia, millions of people depend on the Ecosystem for their livelihoods, clean water and food. It is one of the most important tropical forests in the world and The Last Place on Earth where tigers, orangutans, rhinos and elephants share the same habitat.” Haka Sumatra
(Hashtags from Leonardo DiCaprio Instagram) #elephant #saveleuserecosystem #ConflictPalmOil
See also: In Loving Memory : Our elephants lost in the battle of the Palm Oil Deforestation
The Daily Mail article by AFP
The Daily Mail article by Emily Sheridan
The Daily Mail article by Lucy Mae Beers for Daily Mail Australia
Learn more about how the production of palm oil destroys ecosystems through deforestation at the Palm Oil Investigations website
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation article : Sanctuary in Aceh, Indonesia
Leonardo DiCaprio Instagram Leuser Ecosystem photo
Links from Leonardo’s Instagram: Yayasan HakA who “focus on protection, conservation and restoration of the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia”. Also a Petition “Save The Leuser Ecosystem, Save Our Planet!” . A plea to Indonesian president Joko Widodo in this petition.
Photo credits: The Sumatran elephants featured are from CC Flickr Vincent Poulissen’s Album , Flicker drawing of elephant
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