He was already a global ambassador for all that is cool, talented and uniformly awesome, but now Oscar winner Jared Leto is officially taking on the global ambassador title for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Preparing to release a rhino into an undisclosed location
Recently traveling to Africa, Leto learned more about efforts being made to aid rhino conservation. In true, amazing Leto form, he came bearing hand-drawn Thank You cards from U.S. children for the Phinda Game Reserve Rhino Protection Unit. The Phinda Reserve, along with several other groups in both Asia and Africa, are working to educate people about the disastrous effects of poaching while carrying out breeding programs to help increase white and black rhino numbers.
The situation is still dire, however. The Western Black Rhino was declared extinct in 2013 while rhino poaching (largely for their horns) increased by 5,000 percent since 2007. This issue clearly needs all of the star-power it can get, before it’s too late.
And we thought Jordan Catalano was cute…
During his trip with the WWF, the star visited individuals who are working hard to preserve and protect rhinos. He also toured multiple facilities, including game reserves and an orphanage where baby rhinos are cared for after losing their mothers to poaching.
“I’m committed and passionate about doing all I can to help ensure that these endangered animals survive, and will continue to encourage others to get into action as well,” the 30 Seconds to Mars frontman says of his involvement. “We must join together and protect these powerful yet extremely vulnerable animals from all the senseless slaughter and double our efforts to restore their populations across Africa and Asia. It can and — with a focused global effort — will be done.”
Jared Leto with WWF veterinarian Dr. Jacques Flamand of the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project at Hluhluwe–Umfolozi Game Reserve
A vocal animal lover and nature enthusiast, Leto has spoken candidly about his plant-based diet and has taken to Instagram not once but twice to post pictures of himself affectionately hugging trees. We may have jumped on the photoshop bandwagon with those. We’re only human.
His participation with the WWF seems like a perfect fit and we couldn’t applaud him more for standing up for rhinos and wildlife conservation. Thank you, Jared Leto!
Jared Leto is learning to speak rhino
Image credits: WorldWildlife.org