Leonardo DiCaprio concerned for Aussie wildlife in fires
Leonardo DiCaprio has turned to social media to express his deepest sympathies and concern for those affected by Australia's bushfires.
The Hollywood A-lister, 45, shared pictures of the ongoing tragic fire, animals and areas affected today, alongside a "catastrophic fire danger" warning by officials.
View this post on Instagram
#Regram #RG @aussieark: Officials have issued a warning of "catastrophic fire danger" as firefighters battle over 60 blazes raging across the Australian state of New South Wales, which has caused the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods. There have already been significant harmful impacts to wildlife, with entire ecosystems up in smoke and individual species affected, including around 350 Koalas presumed dead – all before the fires reach their peak. Our hearts go out to the victims of the current fires, which we know have been exacerbated by the decline of native biodiversity. Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate on Earth, and the country is amongst the worst 7 countries worldwide for biodiversity loss. Australian conservation efforts need a radical overhaul. Mitigating the intensity of these fires, mostly set by humans and their activities, can be achieved by restoring our native ecosystem engineers, such as bandicoots, bettongs and potoroos. These species help to maintain healthy forests by continually turning over and breaking down forest leaf litter, thereby drastically reducing fuel load. In their absence, fires are more intense, often reaching the treetops, which can affect populations of species already on the brink, like the Koala. Slow growing and ancient Australian East coast temperate forests are of global significance, as these forests have some of the highest carbon storage on the planet. Fires of this intensity threaten their very existence but managing wildlife to reduce fire intensity and protect forests is underappreciated for its importance in reducing the release of carbon into the atmosphere. Aussie Ark works with Australia’s most threatened and imperiled wildlife, several of which are extinct on the mainland. Native wildlife conservation sanctuaries provide refuge, as well as source populations for rewilding and restoring Australia’s native ecosystems. Our sincere well wishes go out to all those affected by these devastating fires. If you encounter any injured wildlife, please contact your local animal authorities for rescue and rehabilitation.
More than 70 fires - ranging from disastrous to controlled on the NSW Rural Fire Service website - are currently burning across most of NSW, parts of the ACT and south QLD.
A total fire ban has also been put in place from tomorrow, in areas including New England, Northern Slopes, Far North Coast, North Coast, Greater Hunter, Greater Sydney Region, Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and the Central Ranges.
Tomorrow, Friday November 15, eight areas have Total Fire Bans in place. Many parts of the east coast have Severe Fire Danger Ratings. Check your area now. For more information check the NSW RFS website. #nswrfs #nswfireshttps://t.co/oTrzcu7HDR pic.twitter.com/PZqFdYHZyk— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 14, 2019
In his post on Instagram, DiCaprio captioned his heart went out to the victims of current bushfires, including 350 koalas presumed dead.
"These species help to maintain healthy forests by continually turning over and breaking down forest leaf litter, thereby drastically reducing fuel load. In their absence, fires are more intense, often reaching the treetops, which can affect populations of species already on the brink, like the Koala," he said.
"Our sincere well wishes go out to all those affected by these devastating fires. If you encounter any injured wildlife, please contact your local animal authorities for rescue and rehabilitation."
DiCaprio's Instagram post - re-posted and shared from Aussie Ark - has so far gained the attention of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, with more than 417,000 likes in 12 hours.
It was also shared to DiCaprio's Facebook page, where he has more than 16,000,000 followers.
Hours later DiCaprio took to Instagram again to share a video of the bushfires from the World Economic Forum.
He highlighted the intensity of the fires and those who have lost their lives so far.
It has attracted more than a million views and thousands of comments.