Mexicoâ€™s President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote toLeonardo DiCaprio on Twitter on Thursday in a bid to reassure the Hollywood actor his government was taking steps to protect a rare porpoise in Mexican waters teetering on the brink of extinction.
Populations of the vaquita, a tiny snub-nosed porpoise that lives in the Gulf of California, have dropped sharply in recent years because of gillnet fishing for shrimp and totoaba, a popular delicacy in Asia, sparking increased international concern.
On Wednesday, DiCaprio called on his 17.5 millionTwitter followers to get behind a World Wildlife Fund campaign online, which urged people to petition the Mexican president to â€œtake strong action nowâ€ to save the vaquita.
On Thursday evening, Pena Nieto took to Twitter in English to defend his governmentâ€™s efforts on behalf of the vaquita, addressing the actor directly with his first tweet.
â€œI welcome @LeoDiCaprio and @World_Wildlifeâ€™sconcern regarding the Vaquita Marina,â€ Pena Nieto wrote. â€œ@Mexico has focused all its efforts to prevent the extinction of this species,â€ he said before sending out five more tweets, all in English, to draw attention to what Mexico is doing.
Mexico imposed a two-year ban on gillnet fishing in thevaquitaâ€™s habitat in 2015, extending it earlier this year. Critics have complained the ban needs better enforcement.
Viva Vaquita, a group dedicated to saving the porpoise, says on its website that the vaquita population was estimated to be less than 50 in January 2017, based on earlier study findings.