Animal planet, New York, 23 September 2014: Animal Planet announces the network premiere of its feature documentary SAVING AFRICA’S GIANTS WITH YAO MING on Tuesday, November 18, at 10 PM ET/PT.
The program is narrated by actor Edward Norton. This announcement comes in conjunction with the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York and the organization’s Commitment to Action to Save African Elephants.
Every year, the death toll rises with 25,000 African elephants murdered last year alone, and 4.5 million killed in the last 60 years. These magnificent creatures are victims of ivory poaching, perpetrated by one of the most organized, widespread wildlife trafficking networks in history.
Fortunately, Africa’s giants have their defenders. Basketball superstar and wildlife advocate Yao Ming travels to Africa in SAVING AFRICA’S GIANTS WITH YAO MING, which premieres Tuesday, November 18, at 10 PM ET/PT on Animal Planet. His combination of strength, vision and voice serves as a megaphone to help spread awareness about the cruelty of poaching.
“Yao represents the next generation of conservationists. Having him as an ambassador is probably the best thing that could happen to wildlife,” says Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, the world’s only organization focused on reducing the demand for poached products. On his journey, Yao sees for himself the evidence of a losing battle, where Africa’s giants are senselessly slain every day for their tusks. Yao, who is a cultural icon in both his native China and in the US, quickly realizes the real war is not in Africa but in the marketplace.
During the one-hour special, Yao 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. Yao meets with Sir Iain Douglas-Hamilton, renowned elephant expert who echoes WildAid’s dire conservation message, which he urges Yao to bring home and disseminate globally: it’s a race against time for these elephants; when the buying stops, the killing will too.
“The huge price motivates poachers to persist,” says Yao. “And if we buy ivory, it makes all of us killers as well.”
Unfortunately, elephants are not the only victims to poaching. Rhinos are poached for their horns at a record rate as two rhinos a day are slain in South Africa alone. Yao travels to the Kariega Game Reserve, located at South Africa’s East Cape, to experience the struggle and pain of orphaned rhinos, whose parents have been killed.
“When our message is spread by those who see this documentary, people can join us and hopefully wipe out this black market,” says Yao.
On September 23, the Clinton Global Initiative holds its annual meeting in New York City. At last year’s Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton announced the Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants. Because of the strong success of last year’s single commitment, this effort was scaled into the Elephant Action Network, which now includes 21 different commitments made by 16 individual organizations, which reach 58 different countries and touch upon each of our three pillars: Stop the Killing, Stop the Trafficking, Stop the Demand.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
SAVING AFRICA’S GIANTS WITH YAO MING is produced for Animal Planet by NHNZ and WildAid. For Animal Planet, Erin Wanner is executive producer, and Hilary Tholen is associate producer. For WildAid, Peter Knights is executive producer. For NHNZ, Judith Curran is executive producer, Andrew Waterworth is head of production, and Kyle Murdoch is executive in charge of production. Kurt Tondorf, vice president of development for Animal Planet, developed the special.
About Animal Planet
Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world’s only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. Animal Planet consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 94 million homes in the US; online assets www.animalplanet.com, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access to the animal kingdom; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service, and merchandising extensions.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world’s #1 pay-TV programmer reaching 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity, engaging and entertaining viewers with high-quality content on more than 210 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and Science, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Discovery also controls Eurosport International, a premier sports entertainment group, including six pay-TV network brands across Europe and Asia. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, and a digital leader with a diversified online portfolio, including Discovery Digital Networks. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.