Prince William has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth ll in his first speech as Prince of Wales
In his first major speech as the Prince of Wales, Prince William has paid tribute to his late grandmother and vowed to help stamp out the illegal wildlife trade.
Telling how the Queen, as well as the King and the Duke of Edinburgh had all influenced his passion for conservation, William said: “Our natural world is one of our greatest assets.
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It is a lesson I learnt from a young age, from my father and grandfather, both committed naturalists in their own right, and also from my much-missed grandmother, who cared so much for the natural world. In times of loss, it is a comfort to honour those we miss through the work we do.”
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William was at the Science Museum in London for the United For Wildlife Global Summit, where he was joined by 300 leading figures from business, conservation and law enforcement in show of strength against organised wildlife crime.
The Prince founded UFW in 2014 through his charity The Royal Foundation to protect endangered species from the scourge of criminal gangs that make US$20 billion a year from the illegal wildlife trade.
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Using special transport and financial task forces, the organisation has helped disrupt those networks and contributed to more than 450 law enforcement cases and almost 200 seizures of wildlife products around the world.
William spoke of his much-missed grandmother
William continued: “The illegal wildlife trade is a crime that robs us all of our most precious natural resources, funds organised crime, and the harms of which are often directly felt by the most vulnerable communities.
“There are still too many criminals who believe they can act with impunity, too many lives being destroyed and too many species on the brink of extinction due to this heinous crime.”
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The Prince also paid tribute to Anton Mzimba, head ranger at the Timbavati reserve in South Africa, who was shot dead in July.
It was Prince William’s first speech as Prince Wales
“Anton dedicated himself to the protection of wildlife, undertaking his role diligently and professionally despite threats to his life,” William said. “He stood up to violent criminals and paid the ultimate price. It is only right that we pay tribute to him and all the other selfless rangers and frontline conservationists here today. And it is also only right that we honour him by continuing our work with renewed focus and vigour.”
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The summit comes weeks after William hailed as “a significant victory” the five-year jail sentence of Ugandan wildlife trafficker Moazu Kromah for conspiring to traffic more than US$7 million worth of rhino horn and elephant ivory, which involved the illegal poaching of around 135 animals.
Prince William and Prince Harry pictured at their grandmother’s funeral
Among those joining the Prince at the summit were Royal Foundation chairman Lord Hague, Interpol’s executive director Stephen Kavanagh and the International Air Transport
Association’s associate director Jon Godson. Meanwhile, William announced that UFW has partnered with the East and Southern Africa Anti-Money laundering Group, comprising 19
countries, marking the first international public-private partnership for any financial crime.
He added: “We set out to ensure that those involved in wildlife crime face an international response as powerful and coordinated as any other serious and organised crime. To bring their sinister operations out of the shadows and to ensure that communities are equipped, empowered and supported to protect themselves and their natural world.”
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