BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 15 Feb'15

ACTOR BECOMES A GLOBAL AMBASSADOR FOR WWF

One year after President Obama launched the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, Jared Leto has become a WWF Global Ambassador.

The Academy Award-winning actor, musician and director will focus on the most urgent, pressing issues facing our planet. He will start by bringing attention to wildlife crime – a pivotal issue for WWF and the US government.

Leto recently travelled to South Africa with WWF to learn about the rhino poaching crisis and WWF’s efforts to save rhino populations across Africa and Asia.

Jared Leto and WWF

 

Leto will work with WWF to raise awareness of the current poaching situation facing rhinos and other endangered species like elephants and tigers. He will also join efforts to reduce growing demand for rhino horn and recover species populations across Africa and Asia.

‘My latest adventure in South Africa was as mind-blowing as always. Being that close to majestic creatures like rhinos and elephants reminds me of the deep connection and important responsibility we have to protect and shepherd these fragile species and their habitats. I’m committed and passionate about doing all I can to help ensure that these endangered animals survive, and will continue to encourage others to get into action as well.

‘We must join together and protect these powerful yet extremely vulnerable animals from all the senseless slaughter and double our efforts to restore their populations across Africa and Asia. It can and – with a focused global effort – will be done. I’m honored to join with WWF and the global conservation community and do my part. I hope you will too.’

Jared Leto

Rhino crisis

1,215 rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa alone in 2014 – the highest recorded number in recent decades. This represents an increase of 21% over the record 1,004 poached in 2013.

The dramatic rise in rhino poaching is connected to consumption of rhino horn in some Asian countries, where it’s linked to social status and is believed to bring emotional and health benefits.

‘The world needs to wake up to the fact that we’re losing rhinos, elephants and other critically important species.

‘Their recovery lies in our hands. We need strong voices that can mobilize the efforts of many and I’m grateful to Jared Leto for lending his reputation and passion to the cause.’

Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF in the United States

Relocation programme

While in South Africa, Jared Leto joined WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project veterinarian Dr Jacques Flamand, plus other biologists and scientists with the andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve.

Together, they tagged and collared three southern white rhinos as part of a translocation program. Later this year, those three rhinos and roughly 100 others will be moved from high poaching areas to undisclosed locations to help with breeding efforts.

During his trip, Leto presented wildlife rangers with notecards written by children from across the United States. They contained words of thanks and encouragement for their brave role in safeguarding wildlife.

Visit WWF’s website to learn more about its work with rhinos.