Prince William continues to speak out about the illegal wildlife trade.
In The Last Animals, William, 36, discusses the shocking deaths of rangers trying to protect the lives of elephants, rhinos and other endangered wildlife.
The film, which first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017 and is now available on VOD in Canada, Australia, Ireland and the U.K., documents the decimation of Africa’s wildlife by ruthless gangs and traces the killing from the savannahs of Africa to the consumers in Asia and around the world.
William, who last month said it was “heartbreaking” that elephants, rhinos and tigers could be gone from the wild forever by the time his three children are grown up, appears in a segment of the film that explores the 2015 murders of a local army colonel and three rangers, all of whom were killed by poachers in Garamba Wildlife Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Over 1,000 rangers have been killed in the last 10 years. It makes you really angry. It makes you very sad,” William told filmmaker Kate Brooks. “We know where the wildlife are that are being poached. We know how the product is moved and we know where it ends up. You’ve got every possible bit of research and evidence you could need to fix this.”
William also referred to the killing of the army officer in a speech that Brooks uses in the documentary.
“There’s no question that the Duke of Cambridge has played a critical role in raising awareness about the seriousness of this issue and also unified collective efforts through his passion and concern,” Brooks says.
As president of United for Wildlife, which brings together a coalition of campaigning groups, William has visited China and Vietnam to highlight the trade in areas where there is the most consumption. And he has spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping and former President Barack Obama about the issue. Despite this progress, China announced last week that it has partially lifted its 25 years trade ban on rhino horn for medicinal purposes.
“The fact that governments are taking the steps they are shows that it’s on the global agenda,” William says in the film. “People do care, governments do see the seriousness of this problem. But it’s definitely not happening quickly enough. I’d love it to click your fingers and it be like that.”
Brooks, who made her name as a war photographer, was in Kenya on vacation in 2010 when she saw a herd of elephants. “It reminded me that in spite of all the human destruction on the planet, there is still some natural order which ultimately lead me to want to protect it,” she said.
“I saw stories trickling in about the poaching crisis, but the issue was largely underreported then,” she added. “When I learned of an elephant massacre on the border of Chad, in which over 80 elephants were gunned down, I felt I had no choice but to pick up my cameras to help bring attention to the crisis.”
The film won the Terra Mater Factual Studios Impact Award at the Wildscreen Film Festival last month and will be released in the U.S. next spring.