Each year, the Irish celebrate their presence around the globe by ‘Greening’ an iconic structure in a country to coincide with St Patricks Day on March 17th.
This year, Kenya’s famous elephant, Ahmed joined the Colosseum in Rome, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and Ground Zero in New York in becoming Green.
The Global Greening is meant to celebrate Ireland’s presence and influence abroad and the #AhmedGoesGreen initiative recognizes Ireland’s long and excellent relationship with the Kenyan people spanning over 100 years.
The #AhmedGoesGreen initiative was launched by Kenya’s Environment and Natural Resource Cabinet Secretary, Prof. Judy Wakhungu and the Ambassador of Ireland to Kenya, Dr Vincent O’Neill together with other dignitaries.
According to the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya, Ahmed is a fantastic icon of Kenyan life and heritage. Not only does he represent the incredible beauty and diversity of Kenya’s wildlife – he was one of the first elephants to be protected from poaching.
In the early 1970’s President Jomo Kenyatta ordered 24 hour protection or this ‘big tusker’ from Marsabit in Northern Kenya. Consequently he lived to a ripe age of 55 years. Following his death in 1974, the President decreed that his remains be preserved for future generations. They are currently preserved in the Kenya National Museum in Nairobi.
“Ahmed is a wonderful symbol of wildlife conservation efforts in Kenya today. Ireland is a firm supporter of elephant conservation and the efforts of Governments to stem the illegal slaughter of elephants for their ivory,” noted Ambassador O’Neill.
It is expected that the #AhmedGoesGreen initiative will draw attention to the fact that in Africa, more elephants are being killed for their Ivory than are being born each year. An estimated 20,000 elephants were killed for ivory in 2015 alone and it is estimated that over 100,000 elephants have been killed on the continent in the last three years.
“In highlighting this, we want also to commend Kenya for the huge process it has made in addressing this global problem. Because of these efforts, the number of elephants killed by poachers in Kenya has greatly reduced over the past two years,” added Ambassador O’Neill.
Through the #AhmedGoesGreen initiative, Ireland also wants to recognise and fully appreciate the leadership by the Kenyan Government and Kenyan people.
Ireland in particular lauded plans by President Kenyatta to host a historic gathering of leaders (the Giants Club) next month to accelerate efforts to address the elephant poaching crisis.
“Through the #AhmedGoesGreen initiative, we are showing our support for the hugely important efforts being made in Kenya to stop the illegal slaughter of these wonderful animals so they can thrive for many generations to come,” said Ambassador O’Neill.
Source: Embassy of Ireland in Kenya