Saturday, 7 September 2013

Yaya Toure Fights Against Elephant Poaching In Kenya

Cote d’Ivoire national football team star and captain of Manchester City FC, Yaya Toure and footballers at a World Cup qualifier match between Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco will make a strong statement against the illegal killings of elephants in Africa on Saturday - in support of global efforts to stop the illegal trade in wildlife, championed by the United Nations and partners.

Yaya Toure, said, “Time is running out for African Elephants. The surge in the killing of elephants in Africa and the illegal trafficking in other threatened species will not only threaten the animals, but will affect the livelihoods of millions who depend on tourism for a living.”

“Wildlife crime is a serious threat to the security, political stability, economy, natural resources and cultural heritage of many countries. We need to come together to take action against the illegal trade in wildlife across Africa and across the world,” he added. The sold-out game, which will be viewed by over 25 million people around the world, will feature the players carrying slogans to raise awareness against the killings of elephants and other wildlife.

Increased poaching and loss of habitats are threatening the survival of African elephant populations - especially in Central African countries - according to a report entitled "Elephants in the Dust - The African Elephant Crisis", released in Bangkok in March at the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The UN estimates that over 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in monitored sites in 2011 alone. Overall figures may be much higher Even previously secure populations, like in East Africa, are now under threat.

Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director said: "The illegal wildlife trade is threatening not only the survival of species such as elephants and rhinos but also the livelihoods and often the very lives of people across Africa and the developing world".

"We thank Yaya Toure and the 'elephants' of the Cote D'Ivoire football team who are are today making a stand--together with the UN, customs and police forces, wildlife groups and the catalytic power of sports men and women everywhere; let's stop the criminals and score some big wins for elephants, rhinos and threatened species everywhere," he said.

Globally, the illegal ivory trade tripled since 1998.