Hollywood Helping Endangered Species

01
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Leonardo DiCaprio is Taken with Tigers

Leonardo DiCaprio joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund to launch the Save Tigers Now campaign. Photo by Colin Chou / Wikimedia

In 2010, actor Leonardo DiCaprio joined forces with the World Wildlife Fund to launch the Save Tigers Now campaign.

"Tigers are endangered and critical to some of the world's most important ecosystems," he said. "Key conservation efforts can save the tiger species from extinction, protect some of the planet's last wild habitats, and help sustain the local communities surrounding them. By protecting this iconic species, we can save so much more."

In response to the 2011 killing of over 50 exotic animals that escaped from an Ohio residence, DiCaprio urged fans to submit a letter to Congress supporting legislature to protect captive big cats from cruelty and neglect. In a Twitter post, he wrote, "Big cats like tigers & lions belong in the wild, not in people's backyards and basements. Take action!"

02
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Carol Thatcher Embarks on an Albatross Adventure

In effort to illuminate the perils facing endangered albatross, journalist Carol Thatcher (former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's daughter) traveled to the Falkland Islands to film an episode of BBC's Saving Planet Earth series. Photo by White House Photo Office / Wikimedia

In effort to illuminate the perils facing endangered albatross, journalist Carol Thatcher (former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's daughter) traveled to the Falkland Islands to film an episode of BBC's Saving Planet Earth series.

Thatcher was captivated by the Black-browed albatross that inhabit her ancestral homeland, marveling at their lifelong relationships and arduous migrations. She was equally appalled by the fact that some 100,000 albatross drown on fishing hooks each year and touted the efforts of the RSPB Albatross Task Force to save them.

Upon witnessing a haul of albatross from a fishing boat, Thatcher lamented, "Well, this really is a very sad haul … which is really why [the Albatross Task Force] campaign has to have more money to spread the message to educate fisherman."

03
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Yao Ming Stands Up for Sharks

Chinese basketball star Yao Ming publicly pledged to stop eating shark fin soup. Photo by Robert / Wikimedia

In 2006, Chinese basketball star Yao Ming publicly pledged to stop eating shark fin soup, a popular delicacy in his country. After realizing the cruelty and waste associated with shark finning, a practice that is forcing some species toward extinction, Yao began to speak out against the killing of sharks for their fins and signed on as an ambassador for WildAid's shark campaign.

"I urge China to lead by banning shark fin soup," Yao pleaded, "And I urge business leaders to end the consumption of shark fin soup at business events. Unless we act now, we will lose many shark populations, impacting our oceans worldwide."

04
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Julia Roberts Publicizes the Plight of the Orangutan

Julia Roberts publicized the plight of the orangutan in the PBS special "In the Wild.". Photo by David Shankbone / Wikimedia

The Pretty Woman publicized the plight of Borneo's orangutans in a 1997 PBS documentary called In the Wild: Orangutans with Julia Roberts. The show was one of six natural history specials that featured celebrities encountering wild animals in their natural habitats and promoting their survival.

Roberts joined Dr. Birute Galdikas, renowned orangutan researcher, in a quest to track wild orangutans through the forests of Tangung Puting. She also met rescued orangutans and explored Dr. Galdikas' conservation efforts at Orangutan Foundation International.

"As the rainforest is cut down by logging companies and cleared for agriculture, the orangutans find themselves cut off in smaller and smaller areas," Roberts explained. "Here, they become vulnerable to hunters or simply die of starvation. The young are captured and exported as pets. Many die in captivity or are disposed of when they get too big … it's an urgent problem that should concern us all."

05
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Harrison Ford Fights the Endangered Pet Trade

A veteran of the film industry, Harrison Ford is also a longtime supporter of environmental causes. Photo by Mireille Ampilhac / Wikimedia

A veteran of the film industry, Harrison Ford is also a longtime supporter of environmental causes. For over ten years, Ford has served an active role on the board of Conservation International, one of the largest and most influential conservation organizations in the world. His passion for protecting endangered species also inspired him to team up with the U.S. State Department and the nonprofit WildAid to snuff out the illegal wildlife trade.

In 2008, Ford reached millions of moviegoers who flocked to theaters to see the new Indian Jones installment. In announcement preceding the movie, he implored audiences to make a difference.

"Our endangered animals are being destroyed by illegal wildlife trade," Ford said. "It's up to us to stop it. Never buy illegal wildlife products. When the buying stops, the killing can too."

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Bove, Jennifer. "Hollywood Helping Endangered Species." ThoughtCo, Mar. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/famous-people-helping-endangered-species-1181960. Bove, Jennifer. (2017, March 7). Hollywood Helping Endangered Species. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-people-helping-endangered-species-1181960 Bove, Jennifer. "Hollywood Helping Endangered Species." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/famous-people-helping-endangered-species-1181960 (accessed November 24, 2017).