Former NBA star Yao Ming in Kenya to help raise awareness on ivory poaching

Jason Straziuso, The Associated Press
Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya - Former U.S. basketball star Yao Ming is in Kenya to raise awareness for anti-poaching efforts in order to help prevent the killings of elephants and rhinos.

Poaching deaths of elephants and rhinos are increasing, animal experts say, because of increased demand in Asia for rhino horns and elephant ivory.

Yao, the former NBA star from China, said Thursday he thinks increased public awareness about where ivory comes from is needed.

Julius K. Kipng'etich, the director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, gave Yao a tour of one of the organization's rooms filled with ivory from poached elephants. Kip, as the director is known, said Thursday that he hopes Yao takes back the message to China to say that when Chinese people buy ivory, they are helping lead elephants to extinction.