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DiCaprio calls for Thai govt and Yingluck to ban ivory trade

File photo : DiCaprio

File photo : DiCaprio

Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio has called for Thailand and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to show leadership on elephant conservation by banning all ivory trade in Thailand.

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," DiCaprio said.

DiCaprio, 38, sent a personal e-mail to urge the public to join the initiative, which includes spreading the word and signing a global petition calling on Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all ivory trade in Thailand. He is helping launch the World Wildlife Fund's new animal rights campaign, the "Hands off My Parts" initiative.

"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 in 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."

The campaign aims to raise awareness about the rhinos, tigers and elephants that are being killed for their skins, bones, tusks, horns and other body parts.

The actor, who has announced a break from acting, and other celebrity animal rights activists such as Emily VanCamp, Josh Bowman, Stacy Keibler, Alyssa Milano, Ian Somerhalder and Ethan Suplee have banded together to urge immediate action on illegal wildlife trade.

The superstar announced in late January he was taking a break from acting.

"I'm a little bit drained," he told the German newspaper Bild. "I am now going to take a long, long break."

After doing three films — "Django Unchained," "The Great Gatsby" and the recently finished "The Wolf of Wall Street" — in two years, DiCaprio says he's "just worn out".

Publicity tours for the films still loom, but DiCaprio has other plans for when his schedule slows down.

"I would like to improve the world a bit," he said. "I will fly around the world doing good for the environment."


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