Leonardo DiCaprio thinks Apple Computers should pitch in and support his efforts to save the world’s last 2500 wild tigers. Apple has long benefited from naming its operating systems for the tiger, so it only makes sense to give back to the big cats for their unsolicited branding work. We agree that one good turn deserves another! – Global Animal

Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times

On Wednesday, I wondered why I had a new burst of  followers on Twitter. Then I noticed that  Leonardo DiCaprio had re-tweeted my recent suggestion that Apple, which has long named its Macintosh operating systems for the tiger and other wild cats, help conserve the world’s last few dozen havens for wild tigers.  DiCaprio has been working with WWF (known as the World Wildlife Fund in the United States) to build support for tiger conservation.

DiCaprio spread the word just ahead of the International Summit On Tiger Conservation that is beginning today in St. Petersburg, Russia, and because a recent study concluded that safeguarding tiger habitat could be done at a very modest cost. There is an urgent need for such an initiative. Only about 2,500 adult breeding tigers persist in the wild and habitat has been rapidly eroding in the past decade. Earlier this month, Traffic, a network monitoring poaching and commerce in rare wildlife, released “Reduced to Skin and Bones,” a report finding skins, bone and other body parts from more than 1,000 tigers confiscated in 11 countries in the last decade.

The notion of  Steven Jobs and Apple giving something back to the great cats that are such appealing icons first surfaced on Dot Earth last year, thanks to a reader, Jamie from Seattle, who broached the idea after seeing a snow leopard photograph from Afghanistan.

I ran this by Apple’s press office and on Friday was told that the company hadno response for DiCaprio or Dot Earth.

The company, of course, is free to be as parsimonious as it, its shareholders and board of directors want it to be. Customers and charities have complained about a lack of focus on philanthropy by the company or  its leader. But Apple’s attitude on this question does stand in sharp contrast to that of other prominent and profitable companies. For instance, Exxon Mobil, which starting in 1959 encouraged drivers to “ put a tiger in your tank,” has donated more than $15 million since 1995 to the  Save the Tiger Fund.

Apple, of course, isn’t the only company profiting from the image of mighty felines, including the tiger. I have a query in to the Kellogg Corporation, as well, given its longtime use of  Tony the Tiger to sell Frosted Flakes.

I noticed that the company has been very aggressive about  protecting the trademarks it holds on the tiger character. Is it worth investing in protecting the real thing, too?

If you’re an Apple shareholder, or Mac owner, would you see the merit in helping sustain the wildlife that build the image of the products you use?