Thanks to Yao Ming, killing sharks for their fins is down 50%. And he’s simply getting started.

Thanks to Yao Ming, killing sharks for their fins is down 50%. And he's simply getting started.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for retirement. I have delicious dreamings to do nothing in my fancy beachside home as I grow old, soak up some sunshine, and read and write at my leisure. And I was wholly OK with my goals of supreme lazydom … until I ensure what Yao Ming’s been doing since retiring from the NBA .

Yao Ming is not on a beach drinking things with tiny umbrellas in them. Yao Ming is saving the sharks.

It’s a tough aim, but Yao is up to the undertaking. Photo by Toshifumi Kitamura/ AFP/ Getty Images.

In his home country of China, shark fin soup had become so popular that the country became the largest marketplace for shark fin. While there isn’t much meat in the fin itself, the dish was considered something of a status emblem. As more people were able to afford to order shark fin soup, our sharky friends paid the price with their lives.

A shocking 1 in 4 shark species is now imperiled.

The number of sharks in our sea has been steadily decreasing for decades. About 100 million sharks a year are killed 73% of those are targeted for their fins, which typically cut off before the shark is left to die.

That’s why Yao teamed up with the conservation nonprofit WildAid to spread the word that shark fin soup is bad news bears. Since launching with the slogan “When the buying stops, the killing can too, ” a huge shift has passed. The campaign has been credited with cutting the number of sharks killed for their fins by 50 percent.

So, yeah … Yao Ming’s retirement work definitely sets my plan to dishonor .

Thanks to Yao’s campaign with WildAid, support for a shark fin soup prohibition has skyrocketed in China.

Until recently, many Chinese didn’t even know that shark fin soup came from sharks.( The Mandarin translation is “fish wing soup.”) Now, surveys show that a whopping 91% supporting a nationwide prohibition of shark fin consumption. While the ban hasn’t happened in there, the Chinese government has banned shark fin soup at its state dinners.


Now that’s some news to dance about!

“Don’t feed us, please! ” GIF via Discovery.

Thanks to the shark fin campaign’s success, Ming is an attempt to bringing his awareness-raising powers to more members of the animal kingdom.

Ming recently visited Kenyato raise awareness about the dangers of poaching elephants and rhinos for their tusks and cornets. His journey is documented on the Emmy-nominated “Saving Africa’s Giant with Yao Ming” by Animal Planet.

I think the baby elephant is on to something … let’s take Ming’s lead. Image via Animal Planet’s “Saving Africa’s Giants.”

The shark fin soup campaign’s success demonstrates that knowledge really is power.

Yao has been able to use his celebrity to construct serious progress on an issue that came down to people simply not being properly informed. I can’t wait to see how his new efforts to save elephants and rhinos turn out.

Huge thanks to Yao Ming for his dedication to protecting our animal friends.

And defining a truly high bar for post-career accomplishments during my retirement years.


Cheer! GIF via “Downton Abbey.”

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