Things That Matter

Leonardo DiCaprio Is Donating $43m To Help Conserve Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands

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When you think of Leonardo DiCaprio, it’s easy to forget that he’s a dedicated environmentalist. After all, he’s much more famous for being an Oscar-winning actor and a lover of young models. Now, Leonardo DiCaprio’s contribution to the Galápagos Islands cemented his status as one of the most generous environmentalists in history.

On Monday, Leonardo DiCaprio announced that he has pledged $43 million to “rewild” the Galápagos Islands. The project will be historic conservation effort.

“More than half of Earth’s remaining wild areas could disappear in the next few decades if we don’t decisively act. This is why today I am excited to launch @Rewild – to help protect what’s still wild and restore the rest,” he wrote across all of his social media accounts.

“Re:wild begins with a $43m commitment to rewild the Galapagos, to bring the Pink Iguana, the Floreana Giant Tortoise and the Floreana Mockingbird back from the brink of extinction, and to ensure the people of the Galápagos thrive with the wild.”

DiCaprio’s contribution will also fund efforts to restore Floreana Island, which is home to 54 threatened species. It will also fund captive breeding programs and efforts to protect marine life from the negative human impact of tourism.

Re:wild is an organization that DiCaprio founded with conservation scientists in conjunction with the Galápagos National Park Directorate. The organization’s goal is to “rewild the entire Galápagos Islands, as well as all of Latin America’s Pacific archipelagos.”

Part of Re:wild’s launch included a full-scale takeover of DiCaprio’s social media by Paula A Castaño. Castaño is a Latina wildlife veterinarian and island restoration specialist,

Castaño is passionate about the project. “Time is running out for so many species, especially on islands where their small populations are vulnerable and threatened. We need catalytic investments like the one announced today to replicate our successes in the Galápagos and elsewhere.”

She continued: “We have seen rewilding in our lifetime, so we don’t really have to wait five years or 20 or 50 years. These are immediate results. We will see the payoff for all of these efforts, and not across only the Galápagos, but farther beyond archipelagos in Latin America.”

As Ecuador’s minister of environment and water was equally passionate. Marcelo Mata Guerrero said that this experiment will be an “opportunity” to “demonstrate what a truly effective model looks like for the protection and restoration of our shared wildlife and wild land.”

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