Former NBA player Yao Ming is used to dominating - at least on the court, that is. When it comes to saving Africa's wildlife, he's facing a much more formidable opponent than another team's point guard: the international wildlife trade. But Ming is throwing his full 7-foot-six-inch frame into the fray, traveling through Africa to raise awareness for the plight of elephants and rhinos.
Along with Peter Knights, the executive director of WildAid, Ming has launched a marketing campaign in Asia, where the demand for ivory and rhino horn is highest. According to Ming, the problem is still not well understood in his native country.
"Most Chinese people didn't really understand where ivory came from, that so many elephants were being poached for their tusks," he told The Dodo. "That's why raising awareness is so important and can have such a big impact."
Ming said that when he visited Africa, the situation became very real to him, especially when he met one baby elephant, with whom he formed a special bond. "I fed an orphan elephant formula from a bottle," he said. "He was only two weeks old and had lost his mother to poaching. She was killed for her ivory tusks."