Leonardo DiCaprio Nearly Got Attacked By a Great White Shark While Doing Non-Profit Work

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the world’s greatest actors, but he’s also a man dedicated to protecting the environment. His long history of environmental work with non-profits is well documented, and apparently, sometimes it comes with a risk.

Believe it or not, DiCaprio once came face to face with a great white shark while doing non-profit work, and was nearly attacked by the ferocious animal.

Leonardo DiCaprio is dedicated to environmental activism

Leonardo DiCaprio
US actor Leonardo DiCaprio arrives for the 92nd Oscars | VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

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Even though DiCaprio well known for his acting, he’s also built quite a reputation for his activism. For years now, DiCaprio has worked with numerous non-profit organizations to help promote environmental awareness, and he’s even founded his own organization, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. 

Through his production company, Appian Way Productions, he’s also helped produce several documentaries that investigate humans’ relationship with nature. In 2014, his company released Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, a film that explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment.

Leonardo DiCaprio got stuck in a cage with a great white shark 

DiCaprio’s environmental work goes far beyond just producing documentaries. He also does a lot of hands-on work, and occasionally visits other countries to help them overcome their environmental issues. However, things do get dangerous on occasion, as he explained in a 2014 interview on The Ellen Show

“We went scuba diving looking for sharks, and I had a huge fear of sharks, and when I did ‘Blood Diamond’ in 2006, I actually got stuck in a cage with a great white, which was awesome,” DiCaprio said. “It was great. It was a gigantic great white, and it was in the cage with me,” 

Degeneres playfully claimed that DiCaprio wasn’t telling the truth, saying that was “making it up.” DiCaprio doubled down, revealing that the shark came pretty close to biting him.

“No, I’m not,” DiCaprio said. “They actually said, ‘In 30 years, this has never happened.’ But the tuna kind of got stuck on the top of the cage, and the great white leapt out and tried to bite it. And it went into the cage with me, and half of its body was in and out. And I flattened down at the bottom, and it was this far away, and it chomped a few times. But I survived it, and the work that they’re doing is great.”

DiCaprio then laughed off the incident, not wanting to discredit the professionalism of the non-profit he was working with. He claimed that they’re “protecting sharks as well,” and that they’re doing great work.

Leonardo DiCaprio almost fell off an elephant during the same trip

Although DiCaprio’s near-death experience with the shark seems like more than enough excitement for one trip, he claims there was another wild moment. Apparently, he was also working to save a few tigers.

“I did a whole excursion when I went to Nepal, went on elephant-back and looked for tigers. Of course, for four days I was there I didn’t see a single tiger. They blend into the jungle and you have the elephants sort of go up on their hind legs and they react to a tiger being there, but you can’t actually see them. 

When Degeneres asked DiCaprio what one is supposed to do when an elephant goes up on its hind legs, DiCaprio merely said “You hold on. You hold on for dear life.”