By: Nesa Nourmohammadi
Can one person change the habits and mindset of an entire country? For most people, the answer is no. But when that one person in question is basketball superstar Yao Ming, then it’s time to believe in the impossible.
Yao Ming is teaming up with WildAid and using his celebrity to stop ivory demand in China, the world’s biggest ivory consumer. In Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming, airing tonight at 10/9c, Yao ventures to Kenya to learn more about elephants, rhinos and how the ivory trade affects not only the wildlife, but also mankind.
Yao’s image has already made an impact in a country with over one billion people. His work with WildAid to end the shark fin market in China resulted in a 50 percent to 70 percent decrease in shark fin consumption, which leads us to believe history can repeat itself this time around.
Still, it’s important to lend our voices to the cause. There’s a lot we can do individually to help fuel change, and one way to start is to recognize the demand for ivory and rhino horn will do more harm than good. More than 33,000 African elephants are killed every year for their ivory, and if the trend continues, the species may go extinct by 2020. Three species of rhinos are classified as critically endangered, including the Northern white rhino.