"I cannot imagine what it would feel like if the last elephant or rhinoceros in the wild died," William writes in the Financial Times

By Simon Perry
October 05, 2015 11:40 AM

With the world facing myriad challenges, Prince William has explained why he is so passionate about helping wildlife.

The royal wrote an op-ed published Sunday in the U.K.’s Financial Times in which he asks how leaders can convince the public there are solutions to complex global threats, such as terrorism or climate change, if they can’t begin by saving some of our planet’s endangered animals. The piece comes alongside an investigation made by the paper highlighting the trade in animal parts in Africa.

As head of the United for Wildlife coalition, William, 33, has met with President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China in the last 12 months. Now, those leaders have agreed to act together in the fight.

“I cannot imagine what it would feel like if the last elephant or rhinoceros in the wild died – and I then had to explain to my children how we let it happen,” writes the father of Prince George, 2, and Princess Charlotte, 5 months.

“It would be impossible to reassure them with a straight face that we could still reverse climate change or end intractable conflicts.”

But he says it is urgent to act because conserving the animals hunted for their ivory “is about people” as much as it is about wildlife. He says 1,000 rangers have been murdered in a decade, while the livelihoods of local people supported by wildlife tourism is decimated.

United for Wildlife is now working with ports, businesses and shipping and airline companies to formulate a plan to clamp down on the trafficking still further. “This is a battle we can win,” he writes.

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