Hollywood star pays to protect animals

Coming home: The Galápagos giant tortoise is one of the species being brought back.

Can money solve all problems? Leonardo di Caprio has promised to pay £30m to help protect rare animals in South America. But is charity work all it takes to make a difference?

What’s happening

In 1835, a scientist landed on a group of islands in South America. During his short time there, he took notes about the animals and birds he saw.

Twenty years later, he published a book based partly on his research on the islands. Today, his name is known around the world: Charles Darwin.

Find out more

The Galápagos are a group of 13 islands in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador.

They are home to lots of unusual wildlife that helped Charles Darwin come up with his theory of evolution.

Today, lots of the animals are in danger. On some islands, they have died out.

Now, actor Leonardo di Caprio has promised to help. He is giving £30.2m to a charity called Re:Wild.

His money will help bring back 13 species to one of the islands: Floreana. One is the Floreana mockingbird. It is the first bird Charles Darwin wrote about in 1835.

The Hollywood star says more people must support groups like Re:Wild. “The environmental heroes that the planet needs are already here. Now we must… join them.”

Can money solve all problems?

Some say…

Yes! Leonardo di Caprio is a great role model for other celebrities. If more people gave their money to help with the world’s problems, we could solve them much faster. One study says that solving world hunger will cost £253bn. This is a lot of money, but it is possible to raise it. Money can fix everything if we use it the right way.

Others think…

Not really. Even if we had all the money we needed, the problems would still come back. This is because the way we live affects the planet. If we want to help it, we all need to stop using planes and cars. If we want to solve world hunger, people in richer countries need to be less greedy.

You Decide

  1. Some people want to bring back wolves to live wild in the UK. Is it a good idea?

Activities

  1. Imagine you are a crew member on the Beagle with Charles Darwin in 1835. Write a diary entry about your trip to the Galápagos.

Some People Say...

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Anne Frank (1929 – 1945), Jewish diarist and Holocaust victim

What do you think?

Word Watch

Charles Darwin
A scientist most famous for his theory that humans and monkeys share a common ancestor.
Ecuador
A country in South America. Its name means equator in Spanish. The equator passes through the country.
Theory of evolution
The theory that all kinds of living things existing today are developed from earlier types. Evolution is a process that takes place over a long time.
Leonardo di Caprio
An actor who is famous for his role in Titanic and The Revenant. He is also a climate activist.
Re:Wild
The charity’s name is based on the idea of rewilding. This is bringing back species that are native to a habitat but have left for some reason.
Mockingbird
A songbird that is very good at copying other birds.
Environmental
Something to do with the environment. An environmental hero is somebody who works hard to look after the natural world.

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