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November 28, 2010

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DiCaprio Makes Generous Donation

LEONARDO DiCaprio on Tuesday donated US$1 million toward efforts to save tigers from extinction as he arrived in Moscow to take part in the international "Tiger Summit."

The star of movies "Titanic" and "Inception" made the US$1 million commitment to the World Wildlife Fund, with whom he has been working this year on the Save Tigers Now campaign.

DiCaprio, 36, is a committed environmentalist and a WWF board member who recently visited Nepal and Bhutan and toured a tiger habitat.

According to wildlife experts, just 3,200 tigers now live in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago. Russia hosted a 13-nation meeting in St Petersburg last week to try and double the wild tiger population by 2022.

DiCaprio is among those attending the first-ever tiger summit. The actor's first attempt to get to St Petersburg suffered a set-back last Sunday when his commercial flight to Moscow was forced to return to New York after one of the plane's engines shut down.

According to DiCaprio's representative, the actor commended the pilot and flight crew for bringing the plane to a safe landing.

The actor's US$1 million donation will help support anti-poaching efforts and protect critical tiger forests where the needs are most urgent.

"Illegal poaching of tigers for their parts and massive habitat loss due to palm oil, timber and paper production are driving this species to extinction," the actor said. "If we don't take action now, one of the most iconic animals on our planet could be gone in just a few decades. By saving tigers, we can also protect some of our last remaining ancient forests and improve the lives of indigenous communities."


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