Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is “in love” with mangrove trees.
Ronaldo was inspired by the story of a seven-year-old boy named Martunis who survived the deadly tsunami in Aceh because he had been stuck in mangrove trees, the minister said during the launch of “save mangrove” campaign led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and attended by Ronaldo, here.
Martunis was wearing a red-and-green Portuguese team jersey with Ronalo’s name on it when he was found in a beach after he had floated at sea for 19 days.
“And since then, Ronaldo has been quite close to Martunis and mangroves,” the minister said.
Ronaldo visited Martunis in Aceh in 2008 and give him scholarships for education.
“Ronaldo also once gave Martunis a mobile phone, which was later gone,” the minister.
Minister Hasan on the occasion presented a certificate naming Ronaldo as an envoy for the preservation of mangroves.
“Thank you President Yudhoyono. I am pleased to come to Indonesia. Hopefully our event in Bali could spread our mangrove preservation message,” Ronaldo said.
Meanwhile, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for the preservation of 3.7 million hectares of mangrove forest which is crucial to prevent abrasion.
Indonesia must safeguard its around 130 million hectares of forest area and 3.7 million hectares of mangrove forest, the head of state said when launching a mangrove save campaign here.
Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono on the occasion planted mangrove trees at Telaga Waja area, Benoa, Bali.
“We should give an example and become a role model. I encourage all to plant mangrove trees,” he said in the event initiated by the Bali Mangrove Forum.