Yao Ming visits Kenya to film anti-poaching documentary aimed at protecting African elephants, rhinos
Retired NBA star Yao Ming is using his international renown and domestic status as one of China’s most recognizable public figures to try to convince his fellow Chinese citizens to stop seeking products made from elephant ivory and rhino horn, hoping to curb the demand that fuels poaching in Africa and is helping bring Kenyan elephants and rhinos perilously close to extinction.
The former Houston Rockets center arrived in Kenya on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 — his first-ever visit to the African nation — to meet with local scientists and conservationists, to begin filming and to see the animals first-hand. From Jason Straziuso of The Associated Press:
Poaching deaths of elephants and rhinos are increasing, animal experts say, because of increased demand in Asia for rhino horns and elephant ivory.
Yao, the former NBA star from China, said Thursday he thinks increased public awareness about where ivory comes from is needed.
Julius K. Kipng’etich, the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, gave Yao a tour of one of the organization’s rooms filled with ivory from poached elephants. Kip, as the director is known, said Thursday that he hopes Yao takes back the message to China to say that when Chinese people buy ivory, they are helping lead elephants to extinction.
Bringing the message to China — and having one of that nation’s greatest sporting heroes serve as the messenger — is especially critical for activists because “China is the world’s most prominent destination for rhino horn and ivory, with projections suggesting there will be an added 250 million middle class consumers over the next 10 [to] 15 years,” according to Laura Walubengo of Kenyan radio station/lifestyle site CapitalFM:
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Category: World News |