Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince Harry Join Forces to Fight an ‘Imminent Threat’ to an African Region

According to a Press statement from Re:wild, Leonardo DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker, and Djimon Hounsou have joined Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, 37, and renowned conservationists in calling for an emergency halt to oil and gas extraction in the Okavango River Basin. Prince Harry’s effort to end African oil drilling has gained some high-profile supporters.

The Okavango River Basin is a network of river systems that span Angola, Botswana, and Namibia, providing water to roughly one million people and the region’s animals. Additionally, it includes the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its biodiversity, as well as two critical Ramsar wetland reserves.

Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica), a Canadian oil and gas corporation, began drilling in the Okavango River Basin in late 2020 after obtaining a license for exploratory drilling across a 13,200-square-mile area amid opposition from local communities.

DiCaprio, 46, published an Instagram video asking people to sign an open letter opposing drilling in the area.

“Re:wild stands with the people of the Okavango River Basin, who depend on the health of the watershed for their survival,” the caption said. “ReconAfrica is poised to pollute their farms and destroy a beautiful landscape—one that benefits all life on Earth—forever. Join us by signing the open letter at the link in bio. Together, we can #SaveTheOkavango. For all wildkind.”

Prince Harry and Namibian environmental activist, naturalist, and poet Reinhold Mangundu wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post on October 14 warning of the drilling’s “permanent destruction.”

“We believe this would pillage the ecosystem for potential profit,” they said. “Some things in life are best left undisturbed to carry out their purpose as a natural benefit. This is one of them.”

Prince Harry and Mangundu point to a recent pipeline leak off the California coast that spilled over 140,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean and a July fire in the Mexican Gulf to be caused by oil extraction.