DiCaprio, Mexican President on porpoise mission

MEXICO CITY • Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto agreed on Wednesday to increase efforts to save the vaquita marina porpoise, burying the hatchet in a Twitter feud over the endangered species.

Last month, DiCaprio asked his millions of Twitter and Instagram followers to sign a petition calling on Mr Pena Nieto to do more to protect the world's smallest porpoise, which is on the verge of extinction.

The Mexican leader responded with what was, for him, an unprecedented flurry of seven tweets in English, defending his government's efforts to save the estimated 30 vaquitas that remain.

The two were all smiles, however, as they shook hands and signed a deal in which Mexico promised to protect the marine ecosystems of the Gulf of California and, in particular, the vaquita, which is found only there.

"Now more than ever, the world is looking for bold leadership at every level to tackle climate change and environmental conservation issues," DiCaprio said in a statement.

The Gulf of California, which was officially listed as a World Heritage site in 2005, is a source for half of Mexico's fisheries production.

Under the deal, Mexico will impose a permanent ban on gillnets in the vaquita's habitat.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2017, with the headline 'DiCaprio, Mexican President on porpoise mission'. Print Edition | Subscribe