Here's hoping the beleaguered Ivorian's call for an end to illegal poaching will elevate him to football's pantheon of good guys
Who would be an elephant? Specifically, an African one. As if the very real threat of extinction within 10 years at the hands of unscrupulous, tusk-thieving, machine gun-toting poachers wasn't stressful enough, these iconic, big-eared members of the order Proboscidea will have been disheartened to learn in recent days, that of all the Premier League defenders who could have been asked to help fight their corner, the World Wildlife Fund UK and Born Free Foundation called on Kolo Touré.
Renowned for his many good works in the name of charity, the most philanthropic in recent weeks being those comical goals gifted to West Bromwich Albion and Fulham, the Liverpool defender will have alarmed the WWF with his recent attempts at conservation, specifically that of his team's title hopes. We can but pray his efforts in the field of defending big game are less disastrous than those he has recently showcased when it comes to big-game defending.
"They say that somewhere in Africa the elephants have a secret grave where they go to lie down, unburden their wrinkled grey bodies, and soar away," wrote Robert R McCammon in his bestselling novel Boy's Life. Following those extraordinary aberrations at The Hawthorns and Craven Cottage, one can't help but feel Kolo might gratefully have accepted the opportunity to join them.
A native of the Ivory Coast, Touré has been trumpeting on behalf of the continent's endangered population of elephants along with his brother Yaya, Southampton's Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama and the Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany. "When Premier League players speak out, the world listens," said Will Travers, president of the Born Free Foundation, whose wheeze to get players of African origin on board may or may not have been inspired by inevitable links between the success of the late Bobby Moore's famous 1960s exhortation for citizens everywhere to "look in at the local" and subsequent UK binge-drinking trends.
For all the negative headlines the often maligned body of professional footballers tend to generate, it's my experience that they are largely good eggs who have long been happy to lend their names to worthy causes.
A radio show I help to present with Soccer AM's Max Rushden has a feature entitled Footballers Are Nice, in which assorted players are quizzed to see if they are better men than Linvoy Primus, the former Portsmouth and Charlton defender who has become the benchmark for absolute top-blokedom among his peers on the back of his involvement in more charitable works than a battalion of Bob Geldofs.
For those of a cynical bent, it has been an eye-opener. In recent months we've discovered that Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has set up and funded his own foundation in Jamaica. We've learned that the Burnley defender Michael Duff occasionally gives tramps his loose change. We exclusively revealed that the Wolves striker Noel Hunt recently made blueberry pancakes for his wife's breakfast, even though he hadn't done anything wrong.
Of course, while paved with good deeds and acts of selflessness, the road to football heaven is not without its potholes. Some years ago, the England footballer-turned-TV presenter Gary Lineker was one of many unfortunate household names gulled into adding his name to "Nonce Sense", a controversial and highly amusing spoof campaign against child sexual abuse dreamt up by the satirist Chris Morris for his TV show Brass Eye.
Understandably annoyed and embarrassed when it emerged he had been the victim of a stitch-up dreamt up to ridicule celebrities apparently prepared to say any old tosh that might get them on television, the gullible but obviously well-intentioned Lineker has since devoted much of his professional life to exacting brutal revenge, engaging in the wanton and extremely lucrative promotion of fat and salt-laden savoury snacks to innocent consumers.
David Beckham is another former England international who is invariably happy to lend his name to a worthy cause and has recently joined Kolo and chums on the animal preservation bandwagon. Taking time out from bringing football to the masses of Miami, the world's most iconic former footballer has thrown his fez into the ring on behalf of sharks and white rhinos, teaming up with Prince William to front a campaign both endangered species will be hoping is more successful than the pair's combined efforts to bring World Cup 2018 to England.
Unable to speak out for themselves, the world's dwindling population of elephants, sharks and rhinos will almost certainly be delighted to hear such high-profile folk watch their backs. One can't help but feel that at Anfield, however, Liverpool fans will be reminding a certain centre-half that charity begins at home. A little less conservation, a little more action please.