Yao Ming's wild, heartbreaking African adventure- Former NBA star is working with WildAid to shed light on the poaching crisis impacting elephant and rhino populations.

As part of a massive campaign by the conservation charity WildAid, former NBA star Yao Ming has been journeying throughout Africa for nearly a month, documenting the crisis facing wild elephant and rhino populations.

The 7-food 6-inch star has become a surprise international force in the world of animal activism, using his fame to highlight the plight of sharks and bears "farmed" for bile. His latest effort is his most in-depth commitment yet and is a fascinating/heartbreaking display of communicating the dramatic poaching underway in Africa.

"After witnessing how illegal ivory was obtained, I really was speechless," he wrote on his blog. "After seeing these animals up close and watching them interact in loving and protective family groups, it was heart-wrenching and deeply depressing to see them cruelly taken before their time."

WildAid, which is producing a documentary on the visit called "The end of the Wild," estimates the illegal wildlife trade to be worth more than $10 billion per year. While hundreds of millions are spent on conservation of threatened animals, the organization says virtually nothing is being done to stem demand for the animal products. "When the buying stops, the killing can too," the organization states.

In an interview with the Washington Post, the 31-year-old Ming echoed his group's mission statement. "The most effective thing you can do to counter this kind of situation is raise people’s awareness. Eliminate the demand for rhino horn and ivory right at the source. That’s what I want to do. It might take some time, sure, but I’m really hoping that gradually we cam start to see an improvement."

To learn more, visit Yao Ming's daily blog from the field here.

Yao Ming is followed by Kinango, a 2-week-old orphaned elephant whose mother was poached for her ivory, at Daphne Sheldrick's orphanage. Kristian Schmidt for WildAid / WildAid

Yao Ming meets Najin and Suni, two of the world’s remaining seven Northern White Rhinos, four of which are located at The Ol Pejeta Conservancy. (Kristian Schmidt for WildAid) (Kristian Schmidt for WildAid - WILDAID)

A video detailing more about the poaching trade in Africa is below.

VIDEO Yao Ming joins fight against poaching

Responses to "Yao Ming uses his star image to help fight elephants, rhino poaching (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear,Yao Ming, Thank you for all that you are doing to stop the killing of our beautiful animals in Africa. I will never be able to understand the cruelty of humans. My name is Teresa Reilly and my email address is I am giving this information because I can only use the anonymous button and wanted you to know my name, as I know your name. I cannot find the words to describe how greatful I am to you ..God bless you and the people who are joining you..I will join you all in a spiritual link requesting healing for you all. You will have the love of these sweet souls forever. Shine on you beautiful human being. Love from Teresa.

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