Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges $43m to Rewild Galapagos Islands

Leonardo DiCaprio has announced a $43 million pledge for species conservation in the Galapagos Islands. It comes as a welcoming move amid climate change and collapsing ecosystems.

The initiative has been started in partnership with Re:wild, an organization founded by a group of renowned conservation scientists and DiCaprio, the Galapagos National Park Directorate, Island Conservation and local communities.

The project aims to rewild the entire Galapagos Islands, as well as Latin America’s entire Pacific archipelago. Various supporting and implementing partners from several philanthropic and environment organizations, including Galapagos National Park Directorate, Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment and Water and Charles Darwin Foundation are also helping restore the Galapagos.

Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges $43m to Rewild Galapagos Islands

Image: Andrew S Wright/Global Wildlife Conservation

The restoration efforts include Floreana Island, home to 54 threatened species and reintroduction of 13 locally extinct species, including the Floreana mockingbird – the first mockingbird described by Charles Darwin.

DiCaprio said,

Around the world, the wild is declining. We have degraded three-quarters of the wild places and pushed more than 1 million species to the brink of extinction. More than half of Earth’s remaining wild areas could disappear in the next few decades if we don’t decisively act. The environmental heroes that the planet needs are already here. Now we all must rise to the challenge and join them.

The money will also finance a captive breeding program and other activities to prevent the extinction of the pin iguana, and reinforce measures to care for the Galapagos’s marine resources from the human impact through ecotourism.

Paula Castaño will take over DiCaprio’s Instagram and Twitter accounts to encourage significant interventions needed to rewild the Galapagos. It is no news that many species on the island are vulnerable and threatened.

Over 97 percent of the land area of the Galapagos Islands comes under national park status. With changing climatic conditions and rising global temperatures, the Galapagos is facing an existential threat.

There have been prior rewilding restorations in the past. In 2012, invasive rodents were removed from the island of Pinzón by the Galapagos national park, supported by Island Conservation to benefit the Pinzón giant tortoise, which resulted in the discovery of new hatchlings in 2014.

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