Saving Elephants No Tall Order for Yao Ming


Michael Zhao, China File

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Chinese Internet giant Tencent teamed up with international NGO The Nature Conservancy to launch a campaign to promote December 2015 as Elephant Loving Month in China. The following animated short illustrates the toll human greed for ivory takes on wild elephants. One elephant is killed for its tusks every 15 minutes. It’s been 25 years since the ban on international trade of ivory, yet the illegal trading has been raging in recent years, with half of the big-ticket transactions happening in mainland China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam, among other countries, according to CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). In 1979, there were 1.3 million elephants in Africa, and now there are fewer than 400,000. As the Internet has become a more important platform for ivory trade, Tencent is trying to lend a hand. By December 2015, WeChat, the most popular Chinese social media platform, penalized or closed down 622 public or individual accounts and deleted over 100,000 posts containing illegal trading information.

Also, following is a public service announcement from WildAid featuring retired professional basketball star Yao Ming, formerly of the Houston Rockets; Prince William of Great Britain; and international soccer star David Beckham, advocating against the illegal wildlife trade, including the consumption of ivory, shark fins, and rhino horns.

I also recommend watching the Animal Planet documentary Saving Africa’s Giants, which features Yao Ming’s trip to Africa and back to China, helping to save elephants.