Cristiano Ronaldo advocates for mangrove conservation

International Sports Desk, Mar 11 (EFE).- Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo will serve as ambassador for Indonesia's Mangrove Care Forum, the Bali-based organization said Monday.

The forum's mission is raising public awareness about the importance of preserving mangrove forests.

"I am privileged to be able to play a role in conserving mangroves in Indonesia," the Real Madrid forward said in a statement released by the forum.

"I was in Aceh after the 2004 tsunami and the devastation I saw left a deep impression. I understand that in places where there were mangroves to provide the ecosystem buffer against high waves, more lives were saved and less damage sustained," Ronaldo said.

Destruction of mangroves is a global problem, the forum said, describing the situation in Indonesia as "particularly dire," with the loss of 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) of mangroves.