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Prince William and Charles: ‘we will combat the illegal wildlife trade’

 

Prince Charles and William use a video message to say they will help combat the wildlife trade.

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Prince William and Charles: ‘we will combat the illegal wildlife trade'” was written by Stanley Johnson, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 12th February 2014 10.30 UTC

Ahead of a high-level summit on the illegal wildlife trade in London on Thursday hosted by the UK government, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge told the world this week:

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.

Prince Charles went on to echo comments he’s made before, about the need for a battle against poaching:

We must treat the illegal wildlife trade as a battle, because it is precisely that. The rising and apparently insatiable demand, much of it from Asia, has provided an economic incentive for trafficking to become increasingly criminalised and professional. Organised bands of criminals are stealing and slaughtering elephants, rhinoceros and tigers, as well as large numbers of other species, in a way that has never been seen before, pushing many species to the brink of extinction.

Prince William also launched his new wildlife charity on Wednesday, United for Wildlife, a consortium of seven wildlife NGOs. “It is my hope you will become part of United for Wildlife and the global alliance to stop illegal trafficking of wildlife,” he told experts from all over the world have been meeting today and yesterday at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

They have been discussing in depth the kind of measures which will need to be endorsed at the highest level at tomorrow’s Lancaster House conference if the ‘battle against illegal wildlife trade’ is to be won.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton, who lives in Kenya and has fought for decades to help ensure the survival of the African elephant, told the meeting: “If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that half-measures don’t work.”

Dr Paula Kahumbu, who runs a Kenyan NGO called WildlifeDirect and blogs at the Guardian, explained that Kenya’s new wildlife laws proscribed life imprisonment or a fine of £150,000 for the killing of an endangered species. She wrote yesterday about how Kenya shows African governments can be part of the ‘solution’ to the trade rather than being part of the problem, as they are sometimes perceived to be.

John Sellar, a British policeman who served for years as the chief enforcement officer of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) and who only last week went to Buckingham Place to receive an OBE for services to conservation, declared in an impassioned speech: “What I care about, above all, is putting the bad guys behind bars.”

Rachelle Arthey, ZSL

Rachelle Arthey of the ZSL examining a confiscated elephant tusk. Along with others it was brought out of the society’s archives ahead of the summit on illegal wildlife trade held held later in the day. Photograph: Johnny Green/EPA

 

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