Yao Ming viewing elephants during his trip to Kenya. Photo: Kristian Schmidt/ WildAid
Earlier this week, former NBA star Yao Ming delivered a petition to the Chinese government asking it to ban domestic trade in ivory. The petition was delivered during the opening session of China’s annual National People’s Congress in Beijing and signed by a number of leading business figures.
“This is a rare opportunity to raise the issue of ivory trade and elephant poaching before 3,000 delegates from across China, and the African Wildlife Foundation commends Yao Ming for seizing the opportunity,” says African Wildlife Foundation CEO, Dr. Patrick Bergin. “Many delegates might not be aware of the elephant poaching crisis in Africa as a result of demand for ivory products in China, so this petition, delivered at such an opportune time, helps put it on their radar.”
AWF, in partnership with Yao Ming, WildAid and Save the Elephants, has undertaken a campaign to reduce demand for ivory and rhino horn. AWF is also urging all governments with ivory stockpiles to destroy them and for countries to ban legal, domestic trade in ivory. In January, officials in Guangdong Province crushed more than 6 tonnes of confiscated ivory. Shortly after the ivory crush in Guangdong, conservation officials in Hong Kong announced they would destroy 28 tonnes of ivory.
Signatories of the petition include prominent business leaders such as Cao Guowei, CEO of Sina Corps, Wang Wenjing, Chairman and CEO of Yonyou Software, and Zhu Xinli, Chairman of China Huiyan Juice Co.
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