This morning, NPR Radio ran this story about WildAid, a current CEDC partner, and their efforts to stop the poaching of African Elephants and Rhinoceros in the name of the Ivory and Rhino Horn trades. Joining them in their efforts to raise awareness around the world and especially in China, is former NBA Star Yao Ming. The 7'6" Ming spent 8 seasons with the Houston Rockets and made 5 All-Star appearances, and was a truly intimidating defensive presence over those years averaging 2 blocks a game. It seems only natural that he feels the need to defend some of Africa's largest animals, saying he likes the feeling of being in in Africa with these beautiful, giant, creatures as, "Everything is small when you are standing in Africa. The land is huge, the sky is blue... the mountains."
Traveling in Kenya with Peter Knights, the CEO of WildAid, Yao sees first hand the nature of the poaching industry there. He witnesses Rhionceros who have been tranquilized and had their horns cut off, and left to awaken to a slow death brought on by blood loss and vultures, the same birds that many poachers are poisoning in order to keep them from alerting the rangers to their whereabouts with their search for the carcasses of these large animals. It is clearly traumatizing to him to understand that this is all being done in the name of a trade that is meaningless, as Ivory is simply for decoration and Rhionceros horn has never been shown to have any medicinal value. Ming and other celebrities such as Jackie Chan have been involved with WildAid campaigns in the past, with a previous effort resulting in a 50-75% drop in the consumption of Shark Fin Soup, which is considered a delicacy in China.
Knights and Ming have been followed on this journey by a documentary team who have produced a film called "Saving Africa's Giants" that has shown in China, and will have its US Broadcast premiere at 9:00 PM EST on Animal Planet. Spread the word about this important conservation effort and film, we at CEDC are proud to be partnering to work with WildAid to support their mission,"to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection."