After a successful shark fin soup danger awareness campaign, Yao Ming is now working to combat poaching.
Yao Ming is saving sharks. In his native China, shark fin soup had become so popular that the country became the largest market for shark fins.
Although there is not much meat on the fin itself, the dish was considered something of a status symbol. As more people could afford to order shark fin soup, our shark friends paid the price – with their lives.
One in four species of sharks is in danger of extinction.
The number of sharks in our seas has been in constant decline for decades. Around 100 million sharks a year die – 73% of them are caught for their fins, which are usually cut off before the shark dies.
That’s why Yao partnered with the nonprofit WildAid to help fight shark fin soup. Since its launch with the slogan “When the buying stops, the killing stops too”, there has been a huge change. The campaign has been credited with reducing the number of sharks killed for their fins by 50%.
Thanks to Yao’s campaign with WildAid, support for a ban on shark fin soup has skyrocketed in China.
Until recently, many Chinese did not even know that shark fin soup came from sharks. (The Mandarin translation is “fish fin soup.”) Now, polls show 91% support a national ban on shark fin consumption. Although the ban has yet to be carried out, the Chinese government has banned shark fin soup from its state dinners.
Thanks to the success of the shark fin campaign, Ming is now seeking to bring awareness to more members of the animal kingdom.
Ming recently visited Kenya to raise awareness of the dangers of poaching elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns. Their journey is documented in Animal Planet’s Emmy nominated book ” Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming. “