Press Releases

March 29, 2016

Leonardo DiCaprio Visits Endangered Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia, Throws His Support Behind International Efforts to Protect Rainforest

Leonardo DiCaprio Visits Endangered Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia, Throws His Support Behind International Efforts to Protect Rainforest

Leo_in_Leuser_Ecosystem.jpgThe globally important Leuser Ecosystem, threatened by palm oil and other encroaching development, is a growing focus of Indonesian and international conservation efforts

Medan, Indonesia - Actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio has returned from a two day trip to the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia, where he met with and gave his support to local groups working to save this critical landscape from destruction by palm oil plantations, mining, logging, new roads and other development threats.

DiCaprio posted this on his personal Instagram Monday evening: “The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting local partners to establish a mega-fauna sanctuary in the Leuser Ecosystem, the last place on Earth where Sumatran orangutans, tigers, rhinos and elephants coexist in the wild.”

During a speech in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, DiCaprio announced his foundation’s support to organizations working to protect the Leuser Ecosystem, including San Francisco based Rainforest Action Network (RAN).

“We are in a race against time to stop the extinction of the Sumatran orangutan, tiger, rhino and elephant,” said Ginger Cassady, Forest Program Director at Rainforest Action Network. “Companies like PepsiCo that profit from conflict palm oil connected to the destruction of the Leuser Ecosystem must act immediately to break the link between the products they sell and rainforest destruction, labor abuses and climate pollution.”

The 6.5 million acre Leuser Ecosystem, located on the island of Sumatra, is a global biodiversity hotspot and a high priority landscape for conservation. Scientists warn that the iconic wildlife species that call it home are likely to be pushed to extinction forever if this last habitat stronghold is lost.

The Leuser Ecosystem plays a critical role in helping regulate the Earth’s climate by absorbing carbon pollution and storing massive amounts of carbon in its lowland rainforests and peatlands. Millions of local people depend directly on the Leuser Ecosystem for their livelihoods and as the central source of their clean water supply. Its forested watersheds also minimise the number and severity of environmental disasters in the region, which already kill many and cost millions of dollars each year.

PepsiCo is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world and is falling behind its peers in taking meaningful action to reform its palm oil supply chain. PepsiCo consumes over 470,045 tonnes of palm oil per year and its consumption of this controversial commodity is on the rise.

For more information on the Leuser Ecosystem and the threats it faces, see RAN’s report The Last Place on Earth, Tracking Progress and New Opportunities to Protect the Leuser Ecosystem. For more on the status of the campaign to protect the region from palm oil plantation expansion and which companies are frontrunners driving change vs laggards, see RAN’s Snack Food 20 Scorecard.

 

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  • commented 2016-04-17 13:54:08 -0700
    LOL! well said Anne! Rainforest Action Network has gone a bit People Rights Action Teams (PRATs) haha
  • commented 2016-04-03 07:54:02 -0700
    If RAN is going to waste DiCaprio’s money as well, you should at least spell his name correctly. Have you not noticed that nobody is interested in your human-rights-flavored messaging of late? You must be hemorrhaging supporters. There are plenty of Indonesia-based NGOs tracking the relationships between communities and businesses, and they are able to factor in the benefits brought to these communities in terms of employment and services. A group from America (of all places) telling just half a dull story about a situation half a world away is never really going to effect any meaningful changes…as we’re seeing. RAN seems to be slipping down the league table of NGOs since it started pursuing a human-rights agenda.
  • followed this page 2016-04-03 07:54:00 -0700