Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao invited Hollywood’s legendary actor Leonardo DiCaprio to visit the Amazon rainforest to see the reality of the effects of the wildfires in person.
Mourao called on DiCaprio, an environmental campaigner, to join him personally on an expedition along a notoriously ill-maintained road in the remote far western Amazon near the town of Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira.
“I would like to invite our most recent critic, Leonardo DiCaprio, to go with me to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira to do an eight-hour ride through the jungle between the Sao Gabriel airport and the Cucui highway,” Mourao said.
“He will learn with each big pothole that he has to pass that the Amazon is not a flat land and understand better how things work in this vast region.”
Representatives for DiCaprio did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Last year, fires raging in Brazil’s Amazon rain forest have hit a record high number, as concerns grow over President Jair Bolsonaro’s management of the environment.
Nearly 73,000 fires were recorded between January and August, compared with 39,759 in all of 2018, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said.
However, Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro accused DiCaprio of funding fires in the Amazon, without presenting any evidence. DiCaprio denied the allegation.
This year, the number of fires rose in June and July compared to a year ago, but in the first 15 days of August, fires were down 17% compared to a year ago, according to government data.
DiCaprio has a foundation dedicated to the environment and has called for Amazon preservation. Scientists say the Amazon is vital to curbing climate change, because of the vast amount of greenhouse gas that the forest absorbs.
In July, DiCaprio on Twitter praised the Brazilian government’s 120-day ban on fires in the Amazon, an attempt to rein in the destruction.