19 May 2020

Leonardo DiCaprio shows support and donates millions to African nature reserve after rebel attack

Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has donated millions to an African nature reserve after it came under attack last month.

12 rangers at the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed after an ambush which is suspected to have been carried out by Rwandan rebels.

In a statement to the BBC, DiCaprio said: "I had the great honour of meeting and supporting Virunga's courageous team in their fight against illegal oil drilling in 2013.

"Virunga urgently needs funds to protect the endangered mountain gorilla population, to provide support to the rangers and the families of rangers who have fallen in the line of duty, and to help deliver essential disease prevention efforts.

"It's critical that we rally together during this time of incredible crisis."

On Monday, a Virunga fund was set up to help the tourist attraction survive during the pandemic. The park is home to hundreds of species of birds, mammals and reptiles.

Earth Alliance, an organisation co-founded by DiCaprio, initially donated $2 million but it is unclear just how much money the charitable company has given.

The park, which is a Unesco World Heritage site, said it will use funds to protect endangered species, deliver critical disease prevention efforts and law enforcement.

The attack on the rangers in April was carried out by 60 militiamen and saw all 12 rangers, a driver and four people from the local community killed.

A statement from the park at the time said it was an attack on local civilians and not one targeted at the park itself.

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