Actor and Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto has joined the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as a global ambassador following his recent trip to South Africa to help raise awareness about wildlife crime and the rhino poaching crisis. 

“My latest adventure in South Africa was as mind-blowing as always. Being that close to majestic creatures like rhinos and elephants reminds me of the deep connection and important responsibility we have to protect and shepherd these fragile species and their habitats," Leto says of the trip.

South Africa is the epicenter of the poaching war as it’s home to over 90 percent of the world’s rhino population. Coveted as an ingredient in Asian traditional medicine, the horns can fetch up to $65,000 a kilo – a hefty price tag that makes them more valuable than gold.

Leto's South African itinerary included accompanying scientists and local veterinarians for the collaring of three southern white rhinos as part of a translocation programme. These same three animals, along with roughly 100 others, will be moved from poaching hotspots to secret, secure locations later this year to help with breeding efforts.

"We must join together and protect these powerful yet extremely vulnerable animals from all the senseless slaughter and double our efforts to restore their populations across Africa and Asia," Leto said.

The WWF has released a short video of Leto's time in the country:

Top header image: Sascha Wenninger, Flickr