NBA star and former Rockets center Yao Ming made a special visit to the Zoo on Valentine’s Day to share his love of animals and efforts to save wildlife with Zoo staff and guests. Yao Ming works tirelessly around the globe to end the poaching of animals like rhinos, elephants and sharks. He is the biggest and most respected celebrity in China, and with his immense influence he hopes to inspire others to change the consumer way of thinking in China and bring the wildlife trade to a screeching halt.
This heroic effort of tackling the demand for products like rhino horn, ivory and shark fins is essential in ending poaching for good. The Houston Zoo’s conservation partner’s antipoaching efforts achieve victories in their battle to stop poaching on the ground, but the demand for the wildlife commodities will inevitably continue to fuel a fire for these products. Without stopping the demand for these items, we cannot expect to save these species before it’s too late.
Yao traveled to Africa with WildAid to witness the carnage that results from the terrible ivory and rhino horn trade in person. He was devastated by what he saw and came back to share his story with the world. WildAid produced a film highlighting Yao’s experience that will air worldwide later this year. He visited the Zoo to spread this important conservation message and educate local school children on the wildlife issues he has witnessed firsthand. He gave our staff and guests a sneak preview of his new film while he was here.
The Houston Zoo was honored to have Yao and applauds his outstanding work in conservation. Yao Ming, the Houston Zoo and WildAid share a common goal of saving wildlife and our combined successes will strengthen our efforts to prevent extinction!
Read more about Yao Ming’s efforts here.