Reigning African Footballer of the Year Yaya Toure has has been appointed a goodwill ambassador by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),joining a UN campaign against poaching.
Speaking at a press conference at UNEP headquarters in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, the Manchester City midfielder warned that the slaughter of elephants was threatening their existence, saying there were only 800 of the “magnificent creatures” left in his country, Côte d’Ivoire, whose national team is known as “The Elephants”.
Africa is now home to an estimated 472,000 elephants, whose survival is threatened by poaching as well as population expansion and increasing urbanisation encroaching on natural habitats. Conservationists estimate that at least 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in 2011 alone.
Unep Executive Director Achim Steiner welcomed the fact that Yaya Toure had 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.