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WildAid in the News

The New York Times

In China, when Yao Ming speaks, people listen. Trading on this former basketball superstar’s towering stature in his home country, WildAid has named Mr. Yao a spokesman on behalf of Africa’s severely threatened elephant and rhino populations to help curb China’s multi-billion-dollar lust for illegal wildlife products.

Mother Nature Network

Last year, 33,000 African elephants were slaughtered for their ivory tusks. In Kenya, the black rhino population that was once 23,000 strong now numbers 600. In South Africa, two rhinos die every day at the hand of poachers. There are laws in place to protect the animals, but local governments have proved powerless to enforce them, and rangers on the ground are outfoxed and outgunned by black marketers — and many rangers have died on the job. The situation is dire. If nothing changes, these species will become extinct.


But just because it’s difficult to stem Chinese demand for a high-end animal product doesn’t mean it's impossible. Consider ongoing campaigns against eating shark fins. Ten years ago, shark-fin soup was almost obligatorily served at Chinese wedding banquets, official dinners and other high-status events. Demand was huge: Seafood markets across Asia were packed with shark fins.

KCRW - To The Point

Every year, 33,000 African elephants die at the hands of poachers, feeding a Chinese market for ivory that’s worth billions of dollars. Now NBA superstar Yao Ming is part of the effort to stop what could lead to the extinction of elephants in just six years. Peter Knights is executive director for Wild Aid, an NGO devoted to stopping what’s called “Blood Ivory.” He partnered with Yao Ming on a documentary called The End of the Wild, released this month in China.

The Houston Chronicle

Former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming is starring in a film designed to persuade people to stop buying ivory and end the slaughter of elephants as poaching for ivory reaches its highest levels since the initial ivory ban in 1989.

In recent years, the value of the scarce material has skyrocketed from $5 a pound in 1990 to $1,500 in 2014, according to animal welfare campaigners.  Estimates say 33,000 elephants are killed each year for their precious tusks.

The New York Times

The Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming has for years lent his renown to wildlife conservation. In 2006 he took up the campaign against killing sharks for their fins, considered a delicacy in China. More recently, he has taken up the cause of elephants and rhinos, which are hunted for their ivory and horns.

In August 2012, he traveled to the African savanna for the first time to witness the destruction wrought by poaching, and returned last year to Kenya. Now he is ready to share what he saw with his compatriots, in a documentary film, “The End of the Wild,” and a companion book.

NBC News

BEIJING – Former NBA all-star center Yao Ming is now dishing out assists to much wilder targets.

After retiring from the Houston Rockets in 2011, Yao returned to China and set out to end his homeland's traditional appetite for endangered and threatened animal products.

The Huffington Post

Last week, I caught up with Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid, to discuss law enforcement versus demand reduction.

"We spent trillions of dollars in the war on drugs, we have the most draconian of penalties including the death penalty, all the resources and sophisticated gear we could dream of, and it has been an epic failure," says Knights. "So why do we think -- using the smallest fraction of those resources -- we're going to win the war on poaching by solely investing in enforcement?"

Wall Street Journal


Will Chinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign to save the Communist Party end up saving the shark?

China’s consumption of shark fin soup is declining rapidly as young Chinese become more environmentally conscious and the government’s anticorruption campaign discourages showy banquets and conspicuous consumption.

Pacific Standard

There is one crucial point on which pro-wildlife groups agree: Long-term conservation will only occur if demand changes. WildAid, a relatively young conservation organization, targets demand through public awareness campaigns, wisely using native spokespeople like Chinese basketball star Yao Ming. Ming has lent his voice to social media campaigns and recently launched a petition calling for a Chinese ban on selling, importing, buying, transporting, and even carrying ivory.