Leonardo DiCaprio has proven time and again to be one of the most influential public figures dedicated to environmental activism. This time, the actor has teamed up with the Mexican government in an effort to save the world’s most endangered marine animal – the vaquita.
The vaquita is a porpoise native to the Gulf of California. This small marine mammal is threatened with extinction so severely that there are, in fact, only around 30 individuals left in the whole world! Humans are largely to blame for this unbelievable fact. Since 1997, 80 percent of the world’s population of vaquitas have fallen victim to bycatch, as the animals are frequently caught in gillnets operated by illegal totoaba fishermen.
On June 7, 2017, in Mexico City, DiCaprio, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and business magnate Carlos Slim signed a memorandum of understanding committing to the conservation of marine ecosystems in the Gulf of California and to saving the vaquita. According to the document, the temporary ban on the use of gillnets in all fisheries within the vaquita’s waters will now be made permanent. Enforcement efforts and the prosecution of totoaba poaching will also be improved. Moreover, nighttime fishing in the upper Gulf of California and the Vaquita Reserve will be prohibited and entry and exit point throughout the region will be limited for all fishing.
“Now more than ever, the world is looking for bold leadership at every level to tackle climate change and environmental conservation issues,” DiCaprio wrote on his Instagram. He emphasizes that the new memorandum is a necessary step towards making certain that the Gulf of California is still “vibrant and productive”.
In his devotion to the fight for the environment and conservation, DiCaprio created the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation which is dedicated to some of the most pressing environmental issues we are facing today. Through his platform, the actor is inspiring the public to also take interest and action on these burning matters. Throughout the years, DeCaprio has donated large amounts of money to environmental protection groups and programs, made fantastic and much-needed speeches to the United Nations, and raised awareness about the environmental issues in a number of ways. We hope that his new project will also prove very successful and will, in the end, save many priceless vaquita lives!
Image source: leonardodicaprio/Instagram