Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges to Restore the Galapagos Islands

His can-do approach and generosity will boost the wellbeing of this natural island paradise.

Jun 14, 2021
Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges to Restore the Galapagos Islands | His can-do approach and generosity will boost the wellbeing of this natural island paradise.

The Galapagos Islands are a breathtaking volcanic archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean, near Ecuador. Beyond the sandy cliffs and clear water, the wildlife of the Galapagos is unique. Charles Darwin visited the Islands in 1835 and after observing the 13 different types of finches (songbirds) there, he created his theory of evolution. Although this is a natural oasis, there are 23 endangered species that are at risk of extinction. But Leonardo DiCaprio is making it his personal mission to reverse this damage and save the Galapagos Islands.

Over 9,000 species call the Galapagos Islands home, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Among these species, there are some animals that are unique to the islands and not found anywhere else in the world. Tourists flock to the Galapagos to set their eyes on these amazing creatures and to experience the area’s beauty. While tourism is financially beneficial for this exotic destination, the ecosystem has been negatively impacted.In order to combat this issue, Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged to donate $43 million towards conservation efforts. This money will “rewild” the Galapagos Islands by funding essential projects over the next ten years. The initiatives include: restoring Floreana Island, which is home to 54 threatened species, and the reintroduction of 13 locally extinct species, including the Floreana mockingbird.

Huffington Post reports that the funds will also help save species at risk such as the pink iguana (there are only 200 left in the world), protect the islands from rats and goats, eliminate illegal fishing, and decrease pollution in the ocean.

In addition to providing the considerable sum, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Twitter and Instagram accounts will also be taken over by Island Restoration Specialist Paula A Castaño. She told The Guardian, “Time is running out for so many species, especially on islands where their small populations are vulnerable and threatened.” 

Although humans do contribute to the problem, the goal is not to completely stop tourism. Castaño explains that “Up to 97% of the land area of the Galapagos Islands comes under national park status. We are not trying to remove humans from the picture. We are trying to all work together to rewild these ecosystems, and support the community as well. They want to be able to continue to thrive together with nature.”

Living in harmony with the natural ecosystem is one of the main goals of this initiative. The Galapagos Islands are truly a special place where the wildlife will come right up to you. As noted by The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, due to a lack of predators on the Islands, the animals never developed a fear of humans. This means animals will continue with their everyday lives and people can easily observe them. Just walking around the Galapagos Islands is a fascinating and once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s generosity and passion, these special Islands will continue to thrive. Despite humans causing some of the damage, people can now make a huge difference to this area. With careful planning and hard work, the Galapagos Islands can remain an incredible home to thousands of rare species.

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Jackie Schindler teaches EFL to students between the ages of 5-15. She is passionate about making English relevant, fun and memorable. She always tries to look on the bright side in every situation. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler and always on the hunt for the best iced coffee.