Leonardo DiCaprio joins WWF to launch “Hands Off My Parts” initiative to stop illegal wildlife trade
The illegal wildlife trade has reached levels never seen before in WWF’s 50-year history. Rhinos, tigers, and elephants are being killed at alarming rates for their skins, bones, tusks, horns and other body parts.
Tens of thousands of elephants are being poached every year for their ivory. Thailand is home to the biggest unregulated ivory market in the world. Exploiting a legal loophole that permits the sale of ivory from Thailand’s domesticated elephants, criminals are getting away with selling massive amounts of illegally poached African ivory alongside legal ivory in the country.
In addition to raising awareness of this global crisis, the “Hands Off My Parts” initiative highlights what people can do to help, including spreading the word and signing a global petition calling on Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all ivory trade in Thailand.
In support of this effort, DiCaprio sent a personal email to WWF supporters, celebrities and other influencers encouraging them to join the wildlife crime campaign and sign the petition.
“Illegal wildlife trade is the most urgent threat facing species like tigers, rhinos and elephants. These animals are being killed every day to feed an escalating demand for their body parts,” said Leonardo DiCaprio. “Whole populations are at risk of being wiped out if we don’t take immediate action to shut down this illicit trade. As a key step, I am joining WWF and others calling on Thailand’s government to show leadership on elephant conservation by shutting down its ivory market before the country hosts a meeting of 177 nations on wildlife trade in March 2013.”
To learn more and what you can do to help, please visit www.wwf.org.au/stopthetrade or www.handsoffmyparts.org.
Karen Kalpage, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0410 221 410
Jenna Bonello, Jenna.Bonello@wwfus.org, (202) 495-4541