U.S. actor Leonardo DiCaprio announced earlier this week that he will donate $ 3.4 million to Ecuadorian indigenous groups fighting to protect the country’s Amazonian rain forest.
According to Ecuador’s ministry that manages oil and mining interests, the gift is not necessary and might promote hostility between the government and those opposing oil drilling and mining projects.
Last year, President Rafael Correa told DiCaprio to “stay out of Ecuador’s business” when the actor criticized the government’s decision to drill for oil in the Yasuni nature preserve in the northeastern Amazon jungle.
The gift, made through DiCaprio environmental protection foundation, is part of $15 million he is donating worldwide to environmental projects. DiCaprio announced the donations January 19, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he received an award for his environmental work.
According to DiCaprio, his Ecuadorian gift will “support indigenous populations in defending their lands against oil drilling and mining.” He added: “These complex ecosystems can never be replaced if they are lost. They are the foundation for global health and the global economy and without them life as we know it will collapse.”
DiCaprio’s gift will be managed by the ‘Alliance Ceibo,’ created with the Cofan, Secoya, Huaorani and Siona indigenous Ecuadorian nationalities, to protect the land, water and culture of the Amazon.
In addition to his Ecuadorian donation, DiCaprio’s gifts will go to monitor commercial fishing, protect international forests against the palm oil industry, protect a coral reef in the Seychelles, and promote renewable energy projects in the U.S.
Ecuador’s government says that it has taken “strong measures” to protect the rain forest in areas of oil exploration and drilling and no outside support is needed for protection.