CITY STAR TOURE BECOMES GOODWILL AMBASSADOR FOR UN CAMPAIGN



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Football star Yaya Toure has joined a UN
campaign against poaching, warning the slaughter of elephants
threatens their
existence. 
Mr
Toure said there were only 800 of the “magnificent creatures” left in
his country, Ivory Coast, whose national team is known as “The
Elephants”.
He
has been appointed a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP). Poaching
has risen sharply in Africa in recent years, fuelled by Asian demand.

Elephant
tusks are used to make ornaments and rhino horns for traditional medicine.
“Poaching
threatens the very existence of the African elephant and if we do not act now,
we could be looking at a future in which this iconic species is wiped
out,” the Ivorian footballer said at a press conference in Kenya’s
capital, Nairobi.
“Ivory
Coast’s national team is named ‘The Elephants’ after these magnificent
creatures that are so full of power and grace, yet in my country alone there
may be as few as 800 individuals left,” he added.
Ivory
trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).
Conservationists
estimate that at least 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in 2011 alone.
Large-scale
seizures of ivory destined for Asia reached an all-time high in 2011, more than
doubling since 2009, UNEP says.
Unep
Executive Director Achim Steiner welcomed the fact that Mr Toure, the reigning
African Footballer of the Year and Manchester City midfielder, has joined the
campaign against wildlife crime. 
He
was a “particularly powerful African voice” who would inspire action
in efforts to tackle environmental challenges, Mr Steiner said.
Mr
Toure was on Tuesday put on the shortlist for the world footballer of the year
award.
                                                                                                                            ……BBC
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