Leonardo DiCaprio to visit India for tiger conservation

The 'Titanic' star is the ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and met Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh here on Thursday to discuss potential ways for him to get involved in the cause of the Indian tiger.

"He (DiCaprio) is very keen to work on tiger conservation. He wants to take on a more visible role. Somebody like him could play an important role in sensitizing the global community to the cause of the Indian tiger," Ramesh told PTI.

Earlier this year, DiCaprio had visited Nepal to assess the preservation programmes in place to save the species which is on the brink of extinction.

There are only an estimated 3,200 tigers left in the wild and India's tiger reserves are home to a sizeable chunk of the global tiger population.

"Leonardo has now started traveling around the world looking at tigers, trying to assess the role of climate change on tiger habitats. We are inviting him to India. We want to get him to India and working with India on the issue of climate, forests and habitats," said Kevin Conrad, the executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.

No date has been set yet for DiCaprio's visit but it is expected to be in the next couple of months.

"Right now it is celebrity and a cause, let's take it from there," said Ramesh. The 35-year-old actor is a keen environmentalist and is already working with Papua New Guinea to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on their forests.

"Tigers are endangered and critical to some of the world's most important ecosystems," the actor had said in a public message released by WWF in May.

"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," he added.

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