LEONARDO DiCaprio has been criticised by activists at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) for agreeing to act alongside a chimpanzee in Martin Scorsese's new film The Wolf Of Wall Street.

Campaigners have taken aim at The Great Gatsby star, a keen environmentalist, for apparently ignoring concerns about animal cruelty in Hollywood and they have launched an online petition in the hope that the actor will vow to never work with the animals onscreen again.

Peta primatologist Julia Gallucci tells Wenn, "Someone as committed to environmental concerns as Leonardo Dicaprio should know better than to support the well-documented cruelty involved in using great apes for entertainment.

"Peta hopes the next time Leo receives a script with an ape actor in it, he'll remember that these sensitive animals are stolen from their mothers at birth and subjected to physical abuse - and he'll demand a rewrite."

The scene in question features DiCaprio walking hand-in-hand with the chimpanzee through a raucous office, while he later picks up the animal as he talks to a co-star.