Celebrities commit to save endangered African animalsFrom LUCAS PDERO in Luanda, Angola
LUANDA, (CAJ News) – CELEBRITIES have intervened amid the illegal trade in wildlife pushing species to the brink of extinction.
The trend is robbing countries of their natural heritage and profiting international criminal networks.
It has emerged between 2010 and 2012, 100 000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa.
Three rhinos are killed every day, and the Western Black Rhino has already gone extinct. Pangolins are the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world while great apes are already locally extinct in several African nations.
Profits from the illegal wildlife trade sometimes go into the pockets of international criminal networks, threatening peace and security, and damaging the livelihoods of local communities who depend on tourism.
United Nations Environment Programme Goodwill Ambassadors have lent their weight to reverse the illegal trend.
These include Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen, who is fighting for sea turtles; four-time African Footballer of the Year Yaya Touré, who is backing elephantsand actor Ian Somerhalder who is rooting for pangolins.
They are being joined by major celebrities from China, India, Indonesia, Lebanon and Viet Nam battling to conserve species such as orangutans, tigers, rhinos and helmeted hornbills and calling for citizen support to end the demand that is driving the illegal trade.
The campaign is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime
(UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The initiatives come ahead of the World Environment Day.
Angola is the global host of the event set for June 5.
– CAJ News
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