The prince, 36, who will visit Namibia, Tanzania, and Kenya later this month, spoke of his passion for the continent and its animals at a reception Wednesday evening in London for the Royal African Society.
“I first fell in love with Africa when I spent time in Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania as a teenager,” he told guests at the reception. “I was captivated and have been hankering to get back as often as possible ever since. That is why, when you kindly asked me to become the patron of the Royal African Society last year, it was a pretty easy offer to accept.”
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Turning to his ongoing fight to help endangered species like elephants and rhinos (which he highlighted with an imaginative art exhibit in Monday), William discussed the challenges facing the continent, including the illegal trade in wildlife.
“Like so many others, I am deeply saddened by the numbers of elephant, rhino and pangolin who have been illegally slaughtered for their tusks, horns and scales,” he said.
“But the illegal wildlife trade also has a devastating human impact. Too many brave rangers are tragically killed each year by poachers. Communities see their tourist livelihoods threatened. And the proceeds of the illegal wildlife trade fund broader criminal networks and threaten security.
“This is why I am committed to doing what I can to help end this terrible, global crime. This will be a particular focus of my upcoming visit to Africa, and of course the Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade taking place here in London in October.”