At an awards ceremony in London honouring wildlife conservationists, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, announced this September 18th that his foundation will collaborate with seven of the world’s most influential conservation organisations in a new partnership to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.
The seven groups that will be part of the new umbrella organisation called United for Wildlife are: Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF UK and the Zoological Society of London.
“The threats to our natural heritage are extensive, but I believe that this collaboration of the best minds in conservation will provide the impetus for a renewed commitment and action to protect endangered species and habitats for future generations,” said William, who will be the President of United for Wildlife.
Caring for wildlife is nothing new for the caring Prince: since 2005, the Duke has been Royal Patron of the UK-based African wildlife conservation charity. But he confessed that after the birth of his son Prince George in July, he is even more determined to conserve Earth’s natural resources.
“Like any new parents, our thoughts inevitably turn to the world that our child will inherit,” he said. “It is unfathomable to imagine a world in which children who have been born in the past couple of months may grow up in a world in which rhinoceros have ceased to exist in the wild.”
“The possibility of extinction is bad enough for one of our children growing up here in the West, who will never experience the magic of seeing a rhino on a new television documentary; or even for my own little George, who Catherine and I very much hope to introduce to east Africa – a place we know and love – in the fullness of time,” he said.
“But for a child growing up in Africa and whose birthright and economic inheritance these creatures are, it is nothing more than immoral that he or she may never experience what his parents and grandparents knew and treasured,” said the animal loving Duke.
United for Wildlife will mainly aim to reduce both the supply and demand for illegal wildlife and wildlife products.
Charlie Mayhew, co-founder and chief executive of Tusk Trust, said the Duke’s decision to increase his involvement with conservation is “significant” in terms of the support it will generate for the cause.
Mayhew said the birth of Prince George had changed the Duke. “Like all new parents you tend to take stock and look at the world in a slightly different new light, and say ‘What are we leaving our children – what’s the legacy?’ The announcement today demonstrates his commitment to conservation.
“We’re currently witnessing an unprecedented rise in illegal wildlife trade, with its value running into hundreds of millions of dollars…wildlife trafficking also has serious security, economic, political and ecological ramifications. We look forward to sharing our expertise on this burning issue,” said Simon Stuart, the Chairman of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission.
With Prince William united for wildlife with such knowledgable and dedicated conservation groups, we hope little Prince George will have a better chance of growing up in a world full of elephants, rhinos, tigers and many other diverse species.
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