Prince William scored a big win in his longtime campaign for the welfare of elephants and rhinos

By Simon Perry
October 06, 2017 10:30 AM
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Royal victory! Prince William scored a big win in his longtime campaign for the welfare of elephants and rhinos.

The U.K government announced Friday that it is working towards banning the sales of almost all ivory. Environment Secretary Michael Gove has begun a consultation to end the trade, the BBC reports. It is a change of direction as previous attempts at a ban would have excluded antique ivory produced before 1947. There will be some exemptions, for musical instruments and items of cultural importance.

“The decline in the elephant population fueled by poaching for ivory shames our generation,” Gove said in a statement. “The need for radical and robust action to protect one of the world’s most iconic and treasured species is beyond dispute.”

The prince has spoken of his fears that elephants will be gone from the wild by the time his daughter Princess Charlotte turns 25.

“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 said in a passionate speech last year.

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William has held top-level talks with former President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China and appealed directly to Chinese consumers on the country’s top-rated TV channel to curb demand for ivory in that country.

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His office had no comment because it was a government consultation.

But William did pay tribute this week to the “unrelenting dedication and commitment” of Africa’s wildlife heroes, as one of his charities handed out awards to those who protect endangered species.

William, who is royal patron of Tusk, told an audience in Cape Town, South Africa, via video link, “I worry a great deal that our generation is not meeting our moral obligation to leave this planet in better shape than we inherited it. Our children and grandchildren will not thank us if we fail in our duty to reverse the decline in so many species.”