Hindus have welcomed Oscar nominated Hollywood actor-producer Leonardo DiCaprio’s (The Aviator) bold initiative of donating $3 million for saving tigers in Nepal.
According to reports, this grant by Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) will help World Wildlife Fund (WWF) double Nepal’s wild tiger population by 2022 (next Chinese Year of the Tiger), create tiger corridors, protect core areas for tiger breeding, prevent poaching, monitoring and helping communities. DiCaprio, who says that “time is running out for the world’s remaining 3,200 tigers”, joined forces with WWF in 2010 to launch Save Tigers Now.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended LDF’s reported focus on “empowering local communities”, which were mostly Hindu. The densely populated Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal, where the grant will be used, was said to be home to about seven million people, and we hoped that LDF and WWF would give due consideration to their livelihoods also as they depended on the available natural resources. LDF and WWF should work more closely with local communities to find solutions and ensure real success, Zed added.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, praised WWF for indication to use the grant money from LDF to create “income-generating activities through tourism, handicrafts and organic vegetable production” to help local communities and “support insurance funds to help families cope with the loss of livestock to predators”.
LDF’s aim of “fostering a harmonious relationship between humanity and the natural world” highly matched with Hinduism ideals, Rajan Zed pointed out.
Zed noted that Hinduism was very serious about fellowship between environment and humanity. Its stress on unselfishness while using God’s gifts, concept of ahimsa, all living beings possessing soul, etc., pointed to respect for all segments of the universe, which was a divine creation. Nature was sacred and people were integrally linked to it, Zed stated.