During an emotional speech in London Thursday on behalf of the wildlife charity Tusk – of which William is patron – the royal said that between his own birth in 1982 and his daughter Princess Charlotte‘s last year, the number of African elephants in the wild fell by two thirds.
In 1982, “there were 1 million elephants roaming Africa. By the time my daughter Charlotte was born last year, the numbers of savannah elephants had crashed to just 350,000,” he said.
“And at the current pace of illegal poaching, when Charlotte turns 25, the African elephant will be gone from the wild. I am not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear from the wild. I am not prepared to explain to our children why we lost this battle when we had the tools to win it,” he continued.
Tusk is hosting an upcoming international conference on the protection of endangered species in South Africa. And William’s involvement in the charity over the past decade reflects his passion for conservation and love for Africa.
• Want to keep up with the latest royals coverage? Click here to subscribe to the Royals Newsletter.
William’s office also announced Thursday that the prince will head to Hanoi, Vietnam, in November to attend the third International Wildlife Trade Conference. There, William, who is President of United for Wildlife, will also have the opportunity to engage with local people and leaders in conservation. William and his fellow campaigners have been concentrating on clamping down on the demand for ivory and rhino horn by appealing to populations in Asia to stop buying the wildlife parts.
“We have the chance to say that ivory is a symbol of destruction, not of luxury and not something that anyone needs to buy or sell,” he said.
“We have the chance to say that rhino horn does not cure anything and does not need a legal market.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte Are Going to Canada With William and Kate
“Now is the chance to send an unambiguous message to the world that it is no longer acceptable to buy and sell ivory, rhino horn or other illegal wildlife products. Indeed, I would challenge anyone who knows the truth of how these wildlife products are obtained, to justify desiring them.”
He then of both the U.S. and China in announcing domestic bans on ivory trade, and the clampdown on transportation in ivory and other products by a consortium of businesses and ports.
William and Princess Kate are set to arrive in Canada on Saturday for their first official tour as a family of four with Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Kate will also embark on her first solo trip abroad when she heads to the Netherlands on October 11 to host a roundtable discussion with two of her key charities.