Yao Ming support from friends in 'high' places
- By Greg Rose -
- Aug 24, 2012
Chinese star Yao Ming is getting support from friends in 'high' places as he films a documentary exposing the elephant and rhino poaching crisis in Africa.
Fellow WildAid Ambassador Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic are sponsoring the documentary, which former NBA star and Chinese icon Yao Ming is filming with non-profit conservation organisation WildAid.
The aim of the film is to expose the elephant and rhino poaching crisis and to record his impressions and experience at http://yaomingblog.com.
After completing his commentating duties for Olympic basketball, Yao and the film crew traveled from London to Nairobi on Virgin Atlantic, a sponsor of the project. As part of the two-week journey, which is Yao’s first time to Africa, he will come face-to-face with two of the world’s most majestic species – the elephant and the rhino – and he will document the escalading threats they face as a result of growing demand for rhino horn and ivory products. He will meet the people who have dedicated their lives to studying and protecting these animals.
The documentary is anticipated for release in 2013 for both Chinese and international audiences. Virgin Atlantic will screen a special cut of the film on their inflight entertainment to help spread the message around the world.
Richard Branson and Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, have been working with WildAid and Yao Ming to educate the public on the threats to wildlife and to curb the demand for endangered species products, with the message, “when the buying stops, the killing can too.”
Richard and Yao sat side-by-side at a press conference in Shanghai last September to encourage business leaders and government officials to “say no” to shark fin soup. WildAid and Virgin Unite have also launched efforts to help save the last remaining tigers in India.
Peter Knights, WildAid’s Executive Director said: “With the involvement of both Yao Ming and Virgin Atlantic, we will be able to reach a truly global audience with this urgent message. We are grateful to our friend and partner, Richard Branson, and Virgin Atlantic, for their commitment to WildAid and wildlife conservation.”
Virgin Atlantic fly to Nairobi, Johannesburg and Yao Ming’s hometown of Shanghai, and will work closely with WildAid on this campaign, through its 2013 release.
WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetime by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection. For more information, visit wildaid.org or follow them on Twitter (@WildAid) or Facebook (fb.com/wildaid).