Yao Ming, basketball star, NPC delegate, and environmentalist, has launched a major new public awareness campaign targeting ivory and rhino horn consumption and smuggling, in partnership with WildAid, Save the Elephants, African Wildlife Foundation, and the Yao Ming Foundation.
In August 2012, Yao spent 12 days on a fact-finding mission in Kenya and South Africa filming a documentary to be aired in partnership with NHNZ. Yao met wild elephants before encountering the bodies of five poached elephants in Kenya and a poached rhino in South Africa. He also visited local school children, whose education is funded through wildlife tourism revenue, and conservationists and government officials working to protect elephants and rhinos. Footage and stills from his trip were released together with a series of public service announcements informing consumers, “When the buying stops, the killing can too.” WildAid thanks Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Virgin Atlantic for their support of Yao’s Africa trip.
Poaching for ivory kills more than 25,000 elephants annually and has reached levels only seen before the 1989 international trade ban. In 2012, 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. These are precipitous increases from just a few years ago and, if not stemmed, could lead to the extinction of African rhinos and elephants in our lifetime.
For more information visit WildAid.org.