A message from Leonardo DiCaprio about protecting bears

I am writing to ask for your help protecting the grizzly bears that live in and around Yellowstone National Park. We need to stop the Bush administration from implementing a disastrous plan to revoke the bears' protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Yellowstone's grizzlies have only recently begun to recover from the brink of extinction. It's too soon to remove the safety net that has prevented these bears from disappearing. That's why it's so important for Americans all across the country to tell the government that we oppose this risky plan.

To take action, go to the Natural Resources Defense Council's BioGems website at //www.savebiogems.org/bears/takeaction.asp

The grizzly is an icon of the American West and the great wilderness that once covered most of this rugged land. Grizzlies are also a barometer of the region's health. Healthy bear populations mean a healthy landscape.

But so many of these magnificent animals have been killed off and so much of their habitat destroyed that today they live on less than one percent of their former range. Now there are only between 500 and 600 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone. That's a tiny number when you consider that as many as
100,000 grizzlies roamed the West just a few hundred years ago.

Stripping endangered species protection from Yellowstone's bears would open their habitat -- vast wild forests around the park -- to large-scale real estate and energy development. It also would allow hunters to kill bears that roam outside the park. The state of Wyoming has already announced plans to allow grizzly bear hunting as soon as the bears are off the endangered species list.

We all hope for a day when grizzly bears truly are recovered and can be removed from the endangered species list. But first we need to make sure that their habitat is protected.

I'm working with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is leading the campaign to protect and restore the grizzly bear in the lower 48 states. As the bears sleep through the coldest and darkest months of the year, please join us to ensure that grizzly bears have a healthy landscape to wake up to -- this spring and for many years to come.

Go to NRDC's BioGems website to send a message telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to leave Yellowstone's grizzlies on the endangered species list: //www.savebiogems.org/bears/takeaction.asp

Then I hope you will also forward my message to your friends and family.

Thank you!

Leonardo DiCaprio
Board of Trustees
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)



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