Archive for February, 2012

Carnage in Cameroon

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I am shocked (somewhat) and saddened (greatly) by breaking news of an elephant massacre in Cameroon, Central Africa, where at least 480 elephants have been killed in recent weeks in Boubou Ndjida National Park, a park official told Agence France-Presse on Thursday.

The reason I am not more surprised is I have seen this kind of poaching perpetrated countless times since I began campaigning for elephant protection a quarter-century ago. The magnitude of this slaughter, however, is on a scale not often seen.

It is the ivory killing fields all over again. Clearly these criminals will stop at nothing to get hold of elephant ivory because they know there is a thriving black market for it. I would not be at all surprised if China is the intended end destination for this bloody ivory.

In 2008, China and Japan were permitted to purchase 102 English tons of ivory annually — a move recklessly sanctioned by governments across the world who naively (or disingenuously) contended the sale would meet the demand and stop the killing. They played Russian roulette with the lives of elephants. Their gamble did not pay off.

Unless all legal ivory trade is stopped, and the black market is strangled, these massacres will continue. China and Japan must have their status as legal ivory trading partners revoked immediately. Otherwise, future generations will find themselves living in a very sterile world, with animals such as elephants and rhinoceroses surviving only in tiny, heavily fortified pockets. The forests and savannahs will be devoid of life.

Born Free campaigns vigorously against the reprehensible ivory trade and for the welfare of elephants. Find out more and what you can do to help by visiting

Blogging off,

Yao Ming Speaks Out for Bears

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

China has 1.35 billion citizens. That is a lot of consumers, and their appetite for shark fins, ivory and bear bile — resources that are extracted in excruciatingly cruel manner throughout the world, placing the survival of some of the planet’s most distinguished species at great risk — cannot continue to grow. In fact, it must decrease soon, and preferably disappear altogether.

Traditional Chinese medicine, ingrained cultural appetites and the emergence of middle and upper-middle classes have contributed to the toll China is taking on far-flung wildlife. Getting such a massive and tradition-bound country engaged in the animal protection movement is a tall order.

Which brings me to 7-foot-6 Yao Ming.

Yao Ming

(Photograph from

The former Basketball star has been speaking out for animals in his homeland, most recently by visiting a bear sanctuary in the Szechuan province last weekend. Yao clipped the nails of an anesthetized bear and toured the grounds at a site run by our friend Jill Robinson of the Animals Asia Foundation. For many years, Jill has been working tirelessly to save bears and raise awareness of their plight.

Yao also has spoken out against the mass slaughter — a common estimate is 70 million per year — of sharks so that their fins can be used in soups. Mere soups! He’s also made a video against the ivory trade.

Awareness of needless animal suffering, and how it must end, is growing slowly on this planet. Too slowly, for sure. But with high-profile (no pun intended, this time!) celebrities such as Yao Ming speaking out for compassion, there is added hope.

Blogging off,

PS You can help Born Free support the work of Animals Asia Foundation by adopting Ginny the moonbear who was rescued bear farm where she was ‘milked’ for her bile.