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DiCaprio donates to tiger cause

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Leonardo DiCaprio won praise from Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin for his efforts to save the tiger (AP)

Leonardo DiCaprio endured two flight dramas to reach a summit devoted to saving the world’s tigers and donated one million dollars (£630,000) to the cause.

The Hollywood star just managed to make the meeting in St Petersburg, Russia, where a plan was agreed to save the big cats from extinction.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that Leonardo had arrived on Tuesday following problems with two of his flights.

The star was one of more than 200 people aboard a Moscow-bound Delta airlines flight that had to return to New York’s John F Kennedy airport on Sunday when other pilots reported seeing a flash in one engine of the departing plane.

The actor then took a private jet that had to land in Finland early Tuesday for refuelling because of strong winds.

“Not everyone would be willing to take a plane again after what Mr DiCaprio experienced, but he did,” the Russian Prime Minister told the audience at a rock concert dedicated to the tiger conservation effort. “Here, in Russia, we call such a person a ‘real man’.”

“If wildlife and tiger conservation is in the hands of people with such character, we are destined to succeed,” he said.

Leonardo committed one million dollars to conservation group WWF to help support anti-poaching efforts and protect tiger habitat, the group said in a statement.

He has already helped the group raise millions for tiger conservation earlier this year.

The number of tigers worldwide has plunged some 95% over the past century, to just 3,200 tigers living in the wild. The Global Tiger Recovery Program estimates the 13 nations countries will need about £222 million in outside funding in the first five years of the 12-year plan.

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