Yao takes aim at poach­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG RU in Shang­hai


When for­mer NBA all-star Yao Ming gave his speech on anti-poach­ing, some in the au­di­ence — many his fel­low Shang­hainese — took pic­tures of him and those closer to the stage shot self­ies.

Yao was used to it. He tried to keep the au­di­ence fo­cused on his speech and his Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion that con­tained the only pic­tures that at the mo­ment mat­tered to him, those of dead African ele­phants and their or­phan calfs.

At­tend­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the new Shang­hai Nat­u­ral History Mu­seum on April 19, the for­mer Hous­ton Rock­ets cen­ter and founder of the Yao Foun­da­tion, re­peated the well-known anti-poach­ing slo­gan, if the buy­ing stops, the killing will, too.

“I wit­nessed five poach­ing scenes of ele­phants in Africa within one day, I was shocked and fright­ened by the hor­ri­ble slaugh­ter,” said Yao, who went to Kenya in 2012 for a doc­u­men­tary made by Wild Aid about poach­ing.

He added he also saw three ele­phants die once — two dead bod­ies and one died later from in­fec­tion caused by gun wound.

There are doubt­ing voices, how­ever, that be­lieve ef­forts to stop poach­ing are all in vain be­cause the in­dus­try has huge prof­its in­volved. Some ar­gue it is the over­pro­tec­tion, which bans on breed­ing the wild an­i­mals that makes the species rare and brings them closer to ex­tinc­tion.

Yao has also joined the cam­paign against con­sump­tion of shark fins and has vowed never to eat shark fin.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2013 re­search, China’s con­sump­tion of shark fin has been re­duced 70 per­cent un­der col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts be­tween the gov­ern­ment and NGOs, but more im­por­tantly thanks to the public’s con­scious­ness on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

On April 15, Yao re­ceived the Spirit of Sports award from the Lau­reus World Sports Academy. It was in honor of his ‘ex­tend­ing of bound­aries on hu­man achieve­ments.’

In a Washington Post in­ter­view last year, Yao said fi­nan­cially well-off Chi­nese peo­ple need to bal­ance their de­sire.

“I am sure that hu­man be­ings won’t be the last ex­tinct species if we fail to stop killing wild an­i­mals,” he said.


For­mer NBA all-star gives his speech on anti-poach­ing of wild an­i­mals on the open­ing of Shang­hai Nat­u­ral History Mu­seum in Shang­hai.

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