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Former NBA star joins the anti-poaching war

11 October 2013, 17:16 Joseph Njung’eh

Isiolo - Retired Chinese basketball star, Yao Ming, is at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Isiolo for an anti-poaching campaign.

According to a statement from Lewa Executive Officer, Mike Watson, the NBA star, who played for the Houston Rockets, is using his stardom to help stop the poaching of rhinos and elephants in Kenya and across Africa.

The 32-year-old star is also working on a documentary dubbed The End of the Wild, protesting against illegal wildlife trade.

He arrived in the country in August and has visited several conservancies, Watson said, and is witnessing the harsh reality facing the future of the iconic species especially elephants and rhinos.

Watson said Yao had his best moments with three orphaned rhinos raised at the conservancy, saying he witnessed the far reaching effects of poaching.

In his tour of the conservancy, Yao confirmed that Asians still purchase rhino horns to make medicine due to traditional beliefs and customs.

“There is a traditional belief, but legal traditional medicine practitioners stopped using rhino horn in 1993 in China and now use alternative treatments. But some people don’t understand the price the rhinos have to pay for the use of horn and we hope with our film we can raise awareness,” said Yao.

The statement further indicated that Yao’s trip is critical given that he is from China, the world’s most prominent destination for rhino horn and ivory, adding that he will take the message home and create awareness.

“Poaching threatens livelihoods, education and development in parts of Africa due to the insecurity it brings and loss of tourism revenue. I believe when people in China know what is happening, they will do the right thing and say no to these products,” Yao stated in his trip.

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