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Angola's global host of World Environment Day 2016 and its elephant population
Angola, which is seeking to conserve its biodiversity-rich wildlife and rebuild its elephant population, is to host the 2016 World Environment Day (WED) celebrations, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Angolan government, announced today at the COP21 Climate Conference.
WED – the single biggest day for positive action on the environment worldwide, which takes place on June 5 each year – will be themed around the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. This is an issue of particular importance in Angola, where poaching is threatening efforts to rebuild an elephant population decimated by decades-long civil war.
“Angola is delighted to host World Environment Day, which will focus on an issue close to our hearts,” said Angolan Environment Minister Maria de Fatima Jardim. “The illegal wildlife trade, particularly the trade in ivory and rhino horn, is a major problem across our continent. By hosting this day of celebration and awareness-raising, we aim to send a clear message that such practices will soon be eradicated.”
Very little is known about the size of Angola's remaining elephant population, which historically lived in the southeast of the country, also crossing the borders to neighbouring countries.