HOUSTON- The Houston Zoo acquired one of the rarest species of animal Thursday– the seven and a half foot tall Chinese homo sapien.
That’s right– Yao Ming showed up to school kids from Bobby Shawn Middle School in Pasadena on wildlife conservation.
Yao’s been working with the group WildAid to put an end to things like slaughtering sharks for shark fin soup and elephants for their tusks.
“It’s not as simple as just protecting this planet or protect those animals. It’s also, in the end, protecting ourselves,” says Yao. “We know the cycle on this planet is one species down, then there’s another after that and after that…”
The basketball giant took the kids to meet the giraffes, the white rhino and the Asian elephants, commenting, “I hope in the future, they not only see the animals in the zoo. They can still see the animals in the wild– nature.”
Peter Knights, the WildAid Executive Director who is working with Yao on a documentary about endangered species, agrees, “If we can’t take our children and grandchildren to see these animals, then we’ve really lost part of our humanity.”
The day ended with a short film produced by WildAid about the slaughter of elephants in Africa. The 6th graders seemed to get the message loud and clear.
“It makes me feel kind of like sad for them because there’s not really much reason for them to be hunted,” said Bobby Shawn student David Romero, adding anything we use elephant tusk for could be replaced by other non-animal products like wood or plastic.
David’s fellow student Kevin Salas agrees, “I think that we should keep saving them because we want to keep them for generations to come.”
With that, the rarest species at the zoo– the ever-elusive, pizza-eating Yao was whisked away, two slices in hand, sure to make big news somewhere else in the vast tundra of Houston, Texas.