“Our profound belief is that humanity is less than humanity without the rest of creation. The Destruction Of These Endangered Species Will Diminish Us All” HRH The Prince Of Wales, Feb. 8th 2014
If you are worried about the illegal wildlife trade, take comfort from the video above.
Sunday morning’s BBC news showed HRH The Prince of Wales and Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, speaking out in defence of endangered species in their Let’s Unite For Wildlife video. Prince William’s United For Wildlife Foundation is the kind of powerful cooperative partnership of influential organisations needed in the fight against wildlife crime, but if humanity hopes to make headway against the organised criminal gangs responsible for much of the world’s illegal wildlife trade the Princes make it clear that we all need to be supportive and unite for wildlife. In view of these efforts and long term commitments to endangered species, criticism of Prince William for shooting some deer and wild pig in Spain (legal hunting of common species) seems very silly.
The powerful video message pledges their commitment to endangered species and wildlife habitat conservation and confirms the brutal truths of the battle against wildlife crime – the crimes are escalating in scale and organised criminal gangs are involved. The illegal trade has exploded, now well-equipped with modern weapons, silencers, night vision equipment and even helicopters, wildlife rangers are too often ‘out-gunned’ by the poachers and ‘friendly’ casualties are mounting. The illegal trade is fuelled by an insatiable greed that grows keener as the number of remaining wildlife targets diminishes. The Princes cite some grim statistics in their video.
- 30,000 elephants killed last year alone.
- 62% of African forest elephants destroyed in the past decade.
- A rhino killed every 11 hours.
- There used to be over 100,000 wild tigers in Asia, now there are less than 3,200 and as they get fewer and so harder to find, other big cats like lions, leopards, cheetahs, clouded and snow leopards are being hunted to compensate.
HRH Prince William stressed the immorality of future generations being denied their right to live in a world populated with endangered species because of illegal trade by people motivated by greed. Despite the difficulties the film concluded with an upbeat message from the Duke:
“Despite the terrible crisis that we now face, we both continue to be optimistic that the tide can be reversed. We’ve been so impressed by the brilliant work already being done on the ground to improve enforcement and in consumer countries to stop the demand for wildlife products. We’re also extremely encouraged that this issue is now starting to receive the attention it deserves at the highest levels of government. It is heartening that many African leaders are pro-actively developing plans of action and seeking solutions.”
HRH Prince Charles’ says in the video, “We must treat the illegal wildlife trade as a battle.”
That being said, the allies are gathering next week for the London 2014 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference and the lines will be drawn and strategies devised.
UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron has invited leaders from 50 countries to attend the conference and it is hoped that this will lead to tangible tide-turning results.
“It will take action from all of us to beat back this highly organised criminal activity,” Prince Charles says.
The Princes delivered the last part of their message in multiple languages including English, Swahili, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese in keeping with the global scope of the campaign which has developed in tune with ambitions of the UN COP16 CITES conference in Bangkok. The campaign aims to address the demand side of the problem as well as the supply side. Getting the message across in all these languages is crucial. The resounding message from this video is “Together we can stop the illegal wildlife trade. Let’s Unite For Wildlife.”
Prince William urges us all to make our voices heard in the social media and to support world leaders and conservation organisations in their efforts to end wildlife crime.
For more information about United For Wildlife see the sites linked below: