May 17, 2011

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May 5, 2011
WildAid’s Gala celebration last week in San Francisco was a rousing success for wildlife and for the ocean. WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.
Honorees were NBA All Star and WildAid Ambassador, Yao Ming, Julie Packard, Co-founder & Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Addison Fischer, Founder and President of Planet Heritage Foundation, Inc.
Towering above Sylvia Earle at 7’6”, the tallest NBA player in the country, Yao Ming has made an important contribution by taking part in an aggressive campaign in China and elsewhere.  His work includes billboards and a moving public service announcement calling for an end to killing sharks for shark fin soup. Click below to view Yao Ming and WildAid’s poignant video.
California is currently considering banning the sale and distribution of shark fins, the key ingredient in this Chinese delicacy. If passed, California would join Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and the US Territory of Guam in enacting a ban. Palau, the Northern Mariana Islands, as well as Honduras and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, have also passed similar protections for these endangered apex predators.
With 55 percent of the entire Asian-American population living in California, the state is one of the largest sources of shark fin demand outside of China. A number of high profile Chinese celebrities have stepped up to join Yao Ming to protest the estimated killing of 76 million sharks per year. It is hoped that this growing group of wildlife ambassadors can build a bridge between Asian cultural tradition and the necessity to protect sharks both for their crucial role in maintaining the health of the ocean and for the ‘non-culinary’ enjoyment of future generations.
Edited by Deb Castellana
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