Premier League players condemn illegal wildlife trade

Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:47am EST
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By Stephen Wood

LONDON (Reuters) - Leading Premier League players, including Manchester City's Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany, on Wednesday added their voices to a campaign to end the illegal trade in wildlife.

"The world must unite... to not buy ivory," , City's Ivory Coast midfielder Toure and Victor Wanyama, the Kenya-born Southampton midfielder, said in a video message released by the English Premier League.

The campaign, run partly by World Wildlife Fund UK and the Born Free Foundation, is aiming to highlight the plight of elephants and rhinos in Africa.

In the 30-second video, Wanyama and Toure were joined by Toure's brother, Liverpool defender Kolo, and City captain Kompany, who is of Congolese descent, in condemning the killing of endangered species.

The message was timed to coincide with a meeting on the illegal wildlife trade being held this week by the UK government.

The meeting, to which 50 heads of state have been invited, will discuss, among other issues, how to arrest the decline in the numbers of the wild African elephant, the Premier League statement said.

"When Premier League players speak out, the world listens," said Will Travers, president of the Born Free Foundation.

"Africa's elephants and rhinos were born free and they have the right to live free from the threat of poaching and the ivory trade."   Continued...