South by South Lawn
Leonardo DiCaprio speaks during a discussion on climate change during the South by South Lawn (SXSL) festival at the White House, Washington Mandel Ngan/ AFP

It's a documentary that shines the spotlight on the issue of elephant poaching and opens our eyes to the spine-chilling ivory trade that has quickly escalated into an extinction issue over the last five years. The Ivory Game is one of this autumn's highlights on streaming giant Netflix and its executive producer is Leonardo DiCaprio, a passionate environmentalist who hasn't been hugely vociferous about animal welfare.

The film raises the shocking point that African elephants will be wiped out within 15 years if something isn't done immediately, and is produced by Terra Mater, the international film division of Red Bull Media House and directed by Richard Ladkani and Kief Davidson.

CEO of Terra Mater, Walter Kohler, spoke about DiCaprio's role in the making of the film in an exclusive interview with IBTimes UK. The actor's passion regarding the subject for climate change has been addressed frequently during his public appearances, but The Ivory Game explores his hidden passion for protecting vulnerable wildlife from extinction.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation also focuses on the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth's inhabitants as well as restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities, and this documentary is one of DiCaprio's projects that aims to raise awareness.

On working with DiCaprio, Kohler claims that his passion around the subject made him an "incredible producer". He said: "The directors and the team met with Leo and it was immediately apparent how passionate he is about the issue.

"He really cares about saving the world for future generations and is dedicated to bringing ivory poaching to the forefront of people's consciousness. Leo is an incredible producer and he brought great experience and passion to the production of the film."

the ivory game
The Ivory Game debuts on Netflix on 4 November Netflix

And the filmmaker reckons that The Revenant Oscar-winner shouldn't just be acknowledged for his work in front of the camera. He added: "Although most people are quick to recognise him for his acting skills and talent, Leo has incredible insight into the issues surrounding the illegal ivory trade, which is testament to how directly he gets involved in the campaigns and initiatives he supports.

"He has garnered a well-earned reputation for actively fighting and taking a stand against critical wildlife and environmental issues. Whether he is acting or producing, his dedication to what he does is admirable."

Kohler continued to sing DiCaprio's praises, citing that he is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the ivory trade. He said: "The team was fascinated by how much he knew about the issue and the encouragement he offered during the production process grew to a strong bond with a project and deepened his desire to see it succeed.

"Leo is deeply invested in the issue; he recently donated $1m to the Elephant Crisis Fund (ECF) for anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts. He's also the founder of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a charity aiming to protect the world's last wild places."

Read the first part of Walter Kohler's interview with IBTimes UK where he discusses Prince William's role in saving elephants and the challenges he faced while making the film.

The Ivory Game debuts on Netflix on 4 November.

Prince William makes personal plea to save elephants and rhinos from distinction
Prince William makes personal plea to save elephants and rhinos from extinction