Leonardo DiCaprio is imploring the Thai government to institute a ban on all ivory trade. Thailand is currently home to the world’s largest unregulated ivory market, a lucrative trade that results in the poaching of thousands of elephants each year.
On Monday, the actor joined the World Wildlife Fund for “Hands Off My Parts”, an initiative that seeks to bolster global support in the fight against the illegal trade of wildlife. The week-long effort is part of the international conservation group’s Stop Wildlife Crime campaign.
In a statement from The World Wildlife Fund, the organization said the following:
“In addition to raising awareness of this global crisis, the Hands Off My Parts initiative highlights what people can do to help, including spreading the word and signing a global petition calling on Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to ban all ivory trade in Thailand.”
DiCaprio reached out to friends and supporters with a personal message encouraging them to join the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts:
“Illegal wildlife trade is the most urgent threat facing species like tigers, rhinos and elephants. These animals are being killed every day to feed an escalating demand for their body parts. Whole populations are at risk of being wiped out if we don’t take immediate action to shut down this illicit trade. As a key step, I am joining WWF and others calling on Thailand’s government to show leadership on elephant conservation by shutting down its ivory market before the country hosts a meeting of 177 nations on wildlife trade in March 2013.”
According to The Associated Press, a loophole in Thai law is being exploited by illegal traders. The country currently prohibits the sale of African tusks but allows the trade of ivory culled from domestic elephants. Wildlife activists suggest that the loophole encourages the illegal import of African ivory on a massive scale.