Japan Prime Minister's Plan: 'Kill the Whales'

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Shinzo Abe's plan to resume commercial whaling called "rubbish" and "senseless"

Despite the international ban that took hold in 1986 and years of ensuing controversy over its "scientific" hunting, prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe has sparked outrage across the world by announcing his intent to restart the nation's commercial whaling industry.

"I want to aim for the resumption of commercial whaling by conducting whaling research in order to obtain scientific data indispensable for the management of whale resources," Abe told a parliamentary commission on Monday. "To that end, I will step up efforts further to get understanding from the international community."

Since the international ban, governed by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), went into effect nearly three decades ago, Japan has been allowed to hunt select whale species within its territorial waters and conduct what are categorized as "research" whaling hunts in international waters, done mostly in the South Pacific and Southern Ocean.

Abe's comments to revitalize a true return to industrial whaling, however, was met with immediate condemnation by conservationists and governments.

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Former NBA Champion Yao Ming fights to protect Elephants and Rhinos

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Former NBA star and Chinese icon, Yao Ming, has launched a major public awareness campaign targeting consumption of ivory and rhino horn in China in partnership with WildAid, Save the Elephants, African Wildlife Foundation, and the Yao Ming Foundation.

In August 2012, Yao spent 12 days on a fact-finding mission in Kenya and South Africa filming a documentary to be aired in partnership with NHNZ. Yao met wild elephants before encountering the bodies of five poached elephants in Kenya and a poached rhino in South Africa. He also visited local school children, whose education is funded through wildlife tourism revenue, and conservationists and government officials working to protect elephants and rhinos. Footage and stills from his trip were released together with a series of public service announcements informing consumers, "When the buying stops, the killing can too." WildAid thanks Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Virgin Atlantic for their support of Yao's Africa trip.

Poaching for ivory kills more than 25,000 elephants annually and has reached levels only seen before the 1989 international trade ban. In 2012, 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. These are precipitous increases from just a few years ago and, if not stemmed, could lead to the extinction of African rhinos and elephants in our lifetime.

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