Leonardo DiCaprio inspires new generation of conservationists during Animal Action Week

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
(London – 5 October 2010) – Actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio today joined with the International Fund for Animal Welfare to announce the launch of Animal Action Week, an annual global initiative to educate and empower children around the world to stand up, speak out and help save animals.

Now in its 18th year, Animal Action Week runs until Sunday 10 October 2010.

This year’s theme, Born to be Wild, highlights the alarming plight of tigers, which are on the brink of extinction in the wild. Habitat loss and poaching have reduced worldwide wild tiger populations from about 100,000 in 1900 to as few as 3,000 today.

“Tigers are dangerously close to vanishing forever,” said Mr DiCaprio, an IFAW Honorary Board Member. “If we don’t want our children to grow up in a world where tigers are extinct, the time for action is now.”  

Animal Action Week kicks off an international education and youth outreach programme that reaches more than five million children worldwide. This year’s tiger theme coincides with the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese lunar calendar, and is aligned with the UN International Year for Youth (August 2010-2011), which calls on the world community to give young people a chance to actively participate in decisionmaking on local, national and global issues.

In conjunction with the UN initiative, the Animal Action programme earlier this year launched a global campaign to ensure that the voices of the world’s children are heard when world leaders gather in St Petersburg, Russia in November at the Global Tiger Summit, where they hope to agree on a joint strategy to save wild tigers from extinction.

The campaign centres around www.ifaw.org/youthroar, which gave young people around the world the opportunity to send in various types of multimedia messages about tigers and why they should be saved: calls to action, questions, thoughts, poems, songs, paintings or even simple but passionate growls of support for protecting the last wild tigers. The messages were used to create a video that melds these young global voices into one collective Roar! for action to save tigers. It will be shown to world leaders at an event in St Petersburg during the Global Tiger Summit.

“We are proud to join forces with Leonardo DiCaprio once again in our global mission to safeguard animals in crisis, like tigers, and to protect the habitat we all share,” said Fred O’Regan, President of IFAW. “His steadfast commitment is vital in our efforts to educate and empower the conservation leaders of tomorrow around the globe.”

For more than 17 years, IFAW’s Animal Action programme has taught children worldwide about the value of animal welfare and conservation. The programme provides free education packs in seven languages on a different animal welfare and conservation theme each year, including lessons, activities, video and multimedia activities. In the US, the packs are aligned with national curriculum standards and distributed to more than 80,000 classrooms nationwide.

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