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TORONTO (October 8, 2014) – Yao Ming is best known as the exceptionally tall NBA player who helped popularize basketball in China. But his most important legacy may be his role in saving the other non-human, gentle giants of the planet: the elephants. These magnificent creatures are victims of ivory poaching, perpetrated by one of the most organized, widespread wildlife trafficking networks in history. Thankfully, Africa's giants have their defenders. Ming, basketball superstar and wildlife advocate, travels to Africa in SAVING AFRICA'S GIANTS WITH YAO MING. Premiering Tuesday, November 18, at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT, the one-hour Animal Planet special narrated by Edward Norton demonstrates how Ming’s strength, vision, and voice serve as a platform to help spread awareness on the cruelty of poaching.
On his journey Ming sees for himself the evidence of a losing battle, where Africa's giants are senselessly slain every day for their tusks. Ming, who is a cultural icon in both his native China and in the U.S., quickly realizes that the real war is not in Africa but in the marketplace.
During the special Ming also travels to Kenya, home to the ancient Samburu people and a natural habitat of African elephants. Elephants are part of the Samburu heritage and are critical to their livelihood. Poaching not only destroys the wild species but also the tribal villagers who depend on them. Ming meets with Sir Iain Douglas-Hamilton, renowned elephant expert who echoes WildAid's dire conservation message: when the buying stops, the killing will too. As it’s a race against time for these elephants, Hamilton urges Ming to bring home this message and disseminate it globally. With China driving the illegal ivory trade more than any other country, can Ming bring this awareness back to his homeland?
About Animal Planet
See our planet from a wilder perspective! Animal Planet is the only animal entertainment brand that captures the drama and compelling characters of the animal kingdom. From the most perilous encounters with nature’s fiercest predators to the pets we bring into our own family, Animal Planet brings out the character behind every creature and shares the story behind every behaviour. Meet these animals – and their human companions and protectors – as they surprise us, scare us, play with us and teach us how similar we really are. Launched in Canada in 2001, Animal Planet programming offers an immersive and compelling journey into the animal world. Animal Planet is a division of Bell Media, which is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. Visit Animal Planet online at animalplanet.ca.
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