DiCaprio calls on Yingluck to ban ivory trade

UNITED STATES - Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio has called on Thailand and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to show leadership on elephant conservation by banning all ivory trade in the country.

"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," he said.

In a personal e-mail, DiCaprio, 38, urged the public to join the initiative, which includes spreading the word and signing a global petition calling on Yingluck to prohibit any kind of ivory trade.

He is helping to launch the World Wildlife Fund's animal rights campaign called "Hands off My 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 in 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."

The initiative aims to raise awareness about the rhinoceroses, tigers and elephants that are being slaughtered for their skins, bones, tusks, horns and other parts.

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