LAS VEGAS — Hindus have welcomed Oscar nominated Hollywood actor-producer Leonardo DiCaprio’s donating $3 million to the effort to save tigers in Nepal.
According to reports, this grant by Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation will help World Wildlife Fund double Nepal’s wild tiger population by 2022, by creating tiger corridors, protecting core areas for tiger breeding, preventing poaching, monitoring and helping communities. DiCaprio, who says that “time is running out for the world’s remaining 3,200 tigers”, joined forces with WWF in 2010 to launch Save Tigers Now.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement from Nevada, commended LDF’s focus on “empowering local communities”, which are mostly Hindu. The densely populated Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal, where the grant will be used, was said to be home to about seven million people, and we hoped that LDF and WWF would give due consideration to their livelihoods also as they depended on the available natural resources. LDF and WWF should work more closely with local communities to find solutions and ensure real success, Zed added.
Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, praised the use of grant money to create “income-generating activities through tourism, handicrafts and organic vegetable production.” He said it would help local communities and insurance funds to help families cope with the loss of livestock to predators.
LDF’s aim of “fostering a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world” highly matched with Hinduism ideals, Zed said. Hinduism is serious about fellowship between environment and humanity, he added, and unselfishness with God’s gifts, the concept of ahimsa, and all living beings possessing soul, points to respect the universe as a divine creation. Nature is sacred and integrally linked with people.