Anyone who has been on a Kenya safari will be able to speak of the majesty of Africa’s wild animals. Unfortunately, poaching across the continent is having a massive impact on the Big Five, as well as other endangered species.
Now, these animals have found an unlikely ally, 7ft 6in retired NBA superstar Yao Ming.
After stepping away from a stellar career with the Houston Rockets last year Yao, one of China’s most recognisable athletes, has devoted much of his time to charitable and cultural projects.
The star’s latest venture took him to Kenya earlier this month, where he worked with a group that aims to stop poaching.
Governments and NGOs across Africa have had some success preventing the illegal trade in ivory, skins and animal parts but by turning to a superstar who used to earn $50 million (£31 million) they have somewhat changed their approach.
However, in Yao conservationists have the support of a figure who has a massive following in China. Working with US-based charity WildAid he has already convinced officials in China to stop serving shark fin soup at banquets and is now hoping he can stem the demand for ivory and animal bones in his home country.
‘We’re trying to deliver the message back to where I live,” Yao explained, “that the only way to stop poaching is to stop the buying.”
Kenya has so much to offer holidaymakers, but for many it is the safaris that are the most memorable part of their trip. Seeing the planet’s most famous animals up close in their natural habitat is an experience not to be missed.