Say “No” to Rhino Horns!
That’s the message that retired Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming has for his fans back home, many of whom believe that rhino horn has powerful tonic or curative properties. Unfortunately, these traditional, but mistaken, beliefs have fueled an increasing international trade in rhino horn that ultimately threatens the survival of the world’s five remaining rhino species. Yao visited Kenya last year to observe the desperate situation firsthand. He is working closely with the organizations Wild Aid and the African Wildlife Foundation to stop rhino and elephant poaching by creating public awareness of the slaughter involved in bringing illegal horn and ivory to market. Billboards at airports across China and graphic online videos tell the gruesome story and present stark statistics to would-be consumers. The campaign slogan – When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too!
In Houston to attend the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, Yao stopped in for a visit to the Houston Zoo, where he met one of the resident white rhinos and zoo director Rick Barongi. Rick is also a board member of the International Rhino Foundation and serves as vice president for African programs.