As a new dad, Prince William meets a lot of stuffed animals.
“It looks like something George has in his bedroom,” he joked as he examined a stuffed toy albatross.
This albatross, however, was a more serious contraption – a demonstration of the latest state-of-the-art technology to help track, and ultimately save, wildlife.
“You haven’t been bugging my son’s room have you? If I see anyone giving one of these to George then I know you will be tracking him,” he said with a smile.
Four-month-old Prince George’s nursery is all clear. But poachers hunting ivory are very much in William’s sights. He appeared at a special conference at London Zoo Tuesday to hear about the efforts to stop the illegal trade wildlife like rhino and elephant horn.
The Royal Foundation that William heads with wife Kate and brother Prince Harry is throwing its weight behind the campaign to cut down and hopefully stop the trade from Africa. The foundation gave $100,000 to fund a report into the trade and the foundation will give a grant towards a program to help rangers on the ground defeat poachers.
William and his father Prince Charles, 65, heard how the trade is fueled by an increasingly wealthy clientele in China and Vietnam who seek the ivory as prestige, luxury items. They were told that as many as 1,000 rhinos will likely have been poached in Africa this year.
And William clearly wants to go and see for himself how the campaign is going. The prince, 31, who got engaged in Kenya and has frequently expressed his love of the wider continent, told conservationists “I’m hopefully going to get out to Kenya next year.”
As he toured the zoo before the meeting, William said of the day’s event that he wanted to conservationists “in one room to focus their energy and their commitment to one cause – obviously this illegal wildlife trade at the moment is such a big issue.”
He added, “The most important thing to remember, I think, is that you have to reduce consumption of illegal wildlife parts whether it’s ivory, or rhino horn, tiger parts or whatever from various endangered species.”