Years Funded: 2012
African Elephants are under threat from poaching and habitat loss. Although poaching of elephants for their ivory declined massively after the 1989 ivory ban it has, in recent years, experienced a substantial upsurge. Larger quantities of African ivory find their way in to illegal markets in Asia and China in particular.
WCS worked with Wildaid USA to film a documentary on the ivory trade with Yao Ming in 2012. The principal photography for a primetime, first-of-its kind-in-China documentary was completed after Yao spent 12 days in Africa learning first-hand the story of the ivory and rhino horn crises. Yao returned to Africa in September for four more days of filming final scenes. CCTV broadcasted a one-hour version focused on ivory.
During the trip in 2012, Yao had meetings with top scientists in the field, officials countering the poaching, and personal encounters with wild and poached elephants. His blog (developed by WildAid for the trip) was featured on Sina and was followed by 1 million people globally and generated more than 165 international news stories.