Chinese Athlete Joins Effort for Elephants’ Protection
The efforts for the protection of elephants have won a new ally. Yao Ming, the 7-foot-6-inch NBA veteran began a campaign against ivory trade and elephant poaching in support of the activities of WildAid, an NGO dedicated to the protection of wildlife from illegal trade. As part of his efforts, the basketball player recently visited the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage located inside Nairobi National Park in Kenya. In his blog, he shared the experience of meeting the elephants and their caretakers, recognizing how it was an amazing but saddening experience.
Most of the elephants at the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage were orphaned by the unnecessary trade in illegal ivory. Caretakers have to redouble their efforts to make the elephants feel safe while maintaining their own high spirits in the fight against the constant threat of poaching. The Yao Ming Foundation is supporting them, joining other athletes and public figures in raising awareness and spreading the word in countries such as China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Last February, a delegation from the Center for Governance and Sustainability had the opportunity to visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage while participating in the 2013 UNEP Governing Council. The Center adopted two young elephants who had been rescued from poaching. It fosters Sities and Sonje as a symbol of the Center’s and UMass Boston’s commitment to environmental stewardship and engagement in international environmental governance.