Charles, William seek end to booming illegal wildlife trade
Press Trust of India
London, 9 February
In an unusual move, Britain’s Prince Charles and his elder son William have jointly issued a multi-lingual global plea to help stop the booming illegal wildlife trade and save endangered animals like elephants, rhinos and tigers.
The release of the message of Prince Charles and Prince William came at a time when Britain’s The Sun newspaper reported that the Duke of Cambridge was in Spain on a shooting holiday with younger brother Prince Harry, where the pair will hunt wild boar and stag on the private estate of William’s Godfather, the Duke of Westminster.
In the pre-recorded seven-minute video, the father and the son, speak emotively about the death of endangered species, including elephants, which the Prince of Wales said are being slaughtered at a rate of 100 per day.
Their first-ever joint video message was released ahead of a major international conference in London on Thursday to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.
“We have come together, as father and son, to lend our voices to the growing global effort to combat the illegal wildlife trade ~ a trade that has reached such unprecedented levels of killing and related violence that it now poses a grave threat not only to the survival of some of the world’s most treasured species, but also to economic and political stability in many areas around the world,” 65-year-old Prince Charles, the heir to Queen Elizabeth II, said.
In the message, recorded at Clarence House in November, Charles says: “More than 30,000 elephants were killed last year, amounting to nearly 100 deaths per day.”
“In the past 10 years, 62 per cent of African forest elephants have been lost. If this rate continues, the forest elephant will be extinct within ten years. A rhinoceros is killed every 11 hours. As recently as 100 years ago, there were as many as 1,00,000 wild tigers living in Asia. Today, there are believed to be fewer than 3,200 left in the wild,” Prince Charles, also
president of the
wildlife charity WWF-UK, says.
William, the Duke of Cambridge, said the birth of his son, Prince George, has fuelled his passion to protect endangered species and their habitats.
“This year, I have become even more devoted to protecting the resources of the Earth for not only my own son but also the other children of his generation to enjoy,” he said. “I want them to be able to experience the same Africa that I did as a child,” 31-year-old William said.
In the video, Prince Charles is heard for the first time speaking in Mandarin before using his Arabic and Spanish. Then William speaks in Swahili and in Vietnamese.
William, who quit the British military last year, is to head a new global conservation group called United for Wildlife.