Prince William is speaking out about the shocking deaths of rangers trying to protect the lives of elephants, rhinos and other endangered wildlife.
William, 35, appears in the hard-hitting new film, The Last Animals, which documents the decimation of Africa’s wildlife by ruthless poachers. The film traces the killing from the savannas of Africa to the consumers in Asia and around the world – and the often deadly efforts to stop the illegal trade.
William, who has regularly raised fears that these animals will be lost from the world by the time his 2-year-old daughter, Princess Charlotte, is 25, appears after the film tells of how a local army colonel and three rangers were killed, in late fall 2015, by poachers who raided Garamba Wildlife Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Over 1,000 rangers have been killed in the last 10 years. It makes you really angry. It makes you very sad,” he told filmmaker Kate Brooks.”We know where the wildlife are that are being poached. We know how the product is moved and we know where it ends up. You’ve got every possible bit of research and evidence you could need to fix this.”
William also referred to the killing of the army officer in a speech that Brooks uses in the documentary.
“Around 300,000 million people in China are reported to have seen the address. There’s no question that the Duke of Cambridge has played a critical role in raising awareness about the seriousness of this issue and also unified collective efforts through his passion and concern,” she told PEOPLE after the film’s London premiere.
As president of United for Wildlife, which brings together a coalition of campaigning groups, William has visited China and Vietnam to highlight the trade in areas where there is the most consumption. And he has spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping and former President Barack Obama about the issue.
William adds in the film, “The fact that governments are taking the steps they are shows that it’s on the global agenda. People do care, governments do see the seriousness of this problem. But it’s definitely not happening quickly enough. I’d love it to click your fingers and it be like that.”
Brooks, who made her name as a war photographer, was in Kenya, Africa, on vacation in 2010 when she saw a herd of elephants. “It reminded me that in spite of all the human destruction on the planet, there is still some natural order which ultimately lead me to want to protect it,” she said.
“I saw stories trickling in about the poaching crisis, but the issue was largely underreported then,” she added. “When I learned of an elephant massacre on the border of Chad, in which over 80 elephants were gunned down, I felt I had no choice but to pick up my cameras to help bring attention to the crisis.”
After being screened at the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year, The Last Animals is being shown in London at the Bertha Dochouse, Curzon. It will also appear at Anchorage Film Festival in December and D.C. Environmental Film Festival in March, before being broadcast in 2018.