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Ian Somerhalder Building Animal Sanctuary To Help Troubled Children

4/6/2012 1:30pm EDT

Ian SomerhalderActor and activist Ian Somerhalder is building an animal sanctuary in a bid to help kids with behavioral issues.

The Vampire Diaries star is a longtime campaigner for animal rights, and has been outspoken about topics such as Canada's controversial seal cull and shark finning.

He has launched his own non-profit eco organization, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF), and is now putting plans in place to build a green sanctuary, which will help troubled kids learn to co-operate with their peers by handling animals.

He tells E! Online, "It's all about collaboration and compassion. If you can empower someone who's really young, who's had a really tough go at it, to find compassion by using animals - because it's so much easier than with people - then you have something."

"Now you've started to engage these kids and they'll learn not to fight. They really realize what a full life you can have if you just get rid of those demons that we all have."

Ian Somerhalder

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Photo Credits: PR Photos