Today Britain's Prince William spoke at a gathering of nonprofits, NGOs, and government officials from around the world who assembled at the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London, where they heard about efforts to save animals largely at risk due to consumers thousands of miles away in Asia.
Today and tomorrow the fourth Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference is happening in London, where the $23 billion dollar trade is being discussed. The conferences were started by the UK government and backed by Prince William’s United for Wildlife nonprofit. The site of the event has rotated over the years; William spoke at last year’s event in Hanoi, where he made a personal appeal to the Vietnamese people on behalf of the wildlife, as Vietnam is considered among the top destinations for illegal wildlife. The prince spoke today at the event in London, standing underneath logos based on the caricatures of rhinos and elephants. He offered gratitude for those fighting to save critically endangered species from a variety of vantage points.
"Whether you are a ranger risking your life on a daily basis to protect elephants in a National Park; a campaigner trying to correct falsehoods about the healing power and value of rhino horn; a business leader ensuring that your company plays its part in frustrating the trade; or a law enforcement official working to bring trafficking gangs to justice... You are the experts, and you know what works. You rarely get the recognition that you deserve. We must listen to you and we must amplify your voices."
The Duke of Cambridge, as William is also known, spoke of his recent trip to Africa, where he spent a week devoted to wildlife, visiting rangers, field staff from key nonprofits, Government ministers, UK troops involved in anti-poaching activities and others on the front lines of the battle to save the animals. Of the trip he noted “I saw rhinos under such threat that they have more bodyguards than I do", and also praised those involved in the fight against the trade. This week he also unveiled a new effort to convene the financial sector in the battle.