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Elephant protection scheme launched at Knowsley

Knowsley Safari Park is launching the scheme to protect wild elephants Photo: Andy Bonner, ITV Granada

The government's launched a new campaign at Knowsley Safari Park to help save elephants from being poached in the wild.

Experts fear the animal could become extinct within a generation if current levels if poaching persist.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species estimates that in 2011 at least 17,000 elephants have been killed illegally in Africa alone. The real figure could be much higher.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson says "It is totally unacceptable that elephants are being poached at such an alarming rate, fed by a high demand for traditional Asian medicine.

"We are here to highlight the plight of this iconic and majestic animal."

A primary school poster competition has also been launched to raise awareness of the issue.

To find out more head to Knowsley Safari Park's website or to the If They're Gone Facebook page.

The elephants at Knowsley Credit: Andy Bonner, ITV Granada

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