NBA legend Yao Ming has continued blogging from Africa this week, as he travels with WildAid to document the poaching crisis currently decimating the populations of some of the world’s most majestic species.
Part of his tour has seen him visit a Samburu village to witness the work of conservation agencies.
“Elephant Watch and Save the Elephants have been working with this community for decades and their appreciation is clear," he blogged this week. "Support for education and other community projects comes directly from the tourism conservation fees.
“Peter Knights of WildAid told me on his last trip he met a a fully-qualified Samburu doctor, whose training had been paid for by those fees. He asked the doctor what a poached elephant meant to him personally and the response was, ‘one poached elephants is 200 Samburu children without an education.’
“In China, we rightly value education very highly. For most parents, our greatest aspiration is the best possible education for our children. I’m sure if people realized that buying illegal ivory undermined education in Africa, they wouldn’t want to buy it anymore.
“’Please go back and fight for the elephants for the Samburu people,’ says Bernard Lesirin, a young warrior and top guide at Elephant Watch.
“Finally, we head out to record a Public Service Announcement with the elephants. They obligingly march right past me in the vehicle as if they know we need their help to get the message out to please not buy their ivory.”
To read Yao Ming’s blog and see photos from his trip, click here.