Leonardo DiCaprio‘s latest eco-documentary “Sea of Shadows” doesn’t shy away from taking on Mexican cartels.
“For some of the guys there, he is state enemy number one at the moment,” said producer Wolfgang Knöpfler at the documentary’s premiere on Wednesday night at Neuehouse in Los Angeles. “The cartels don’t like him.”
Appian Way and DiCaprio executive produced the National Geographic documentary, which casts a spotlight on the little-known plight of the endangered vaquita, a species of porpoise that has become collateral damage in a poaching crisis raging in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Mexican crime syndicates have partnered with the Chinese mafia in the illegal fishing of the native totoaba, whose bladders are believed to have miraculous healing powers and fetch prices upwards of $100,000 on the Chinese black market.
Ensnared in nets meant for the totoaba, with their natural habitat decimated, the vaquita numbers have dwindled to less than fifteen. “Sea of Shadows” tracks the efforts of conservation groups, undercover investigators, journalists and the Mexican navy to save the vaquita from extinction and bring down the crime syndicates, while fending off deadly retaliation.