Film actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, raised a stunning $38.8 million for global conservation efforts Monday night through an all-star art auction at Christie’s in New York City. Commissioning 33 works of art, the A-list actor raised record funds for saving species from extinction and protecting natural habitats.
“Our goal here tonight is very simple. The funds raised will directly go to support innovative conservation projects on land and in our oceans,” DiCaprio told attendees. “Please. I urge all of you to bid as if the fate of the planet depends on us.”
DiCaprio, who has long been known as a passionate environmentalist, reportedly persuaded artists himself to donate works and called potential clients in the days before the auction to urge them to bid. Before auctioning started DiCaprio told the crowd that only 2 percent of charitable donations worldwide go to environmental issues. Several of the artists saw their works sold for record prices.
A group of environmental experts and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will decide where the money goes. To put the figure in context, the single night of fundraising by DiCaprio could fund WWF’s global programs for over 3 months.
In 2010, DiCaprio donated a million dollars to tiger conservation at the Global Tiger Summit in Russia.
Known for critically-acclaimed roles in films such as The Aviator, Django Unchained, Blood Diamond, The Departed, and Titanic, DiCaprio also produced an environmental documentary called The 11th Hour. DiCaprio currently stars in The Great Gatsby as the title character.
Captive Sumatran tiger. Today more tigers survive in captivity than in the wild where only around 3,000 of the great cats remain. The Sumatran tiger is down to around 500 animals and is listed as Critically Endangered. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
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