His Royal Highness’s rallying call for action to avoid an “irreversible tragedy” was echoed by his son The Duke of Cambridge and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson when all three men spoke at a conference convened to tackle the issue.
The Duke of Cambridge said he had set his Royal Foundation the task of engaging the world’s young to help shape public opinion.
The Environment Secretary summed up the misguided value placed on some animal products by stating: “Rhino horn has the same medicinal value as one of my big toe nails.”
His Royal Highness told the St James’s Palace conference – whose delegates included key conservationists, policy decision makers and representatives from civil society and the private sector – that “stamping out the illegal wildlife trade needs to be placed very near the top of the global agenda. And it needs to be addressed by world leaders as urgent priority”.
Threatened species include the elephant, whose numbers are being depleted by an estimated 30,000 each year. In South Africa 668 rhinos were poached in 2012 compared to just 13 in 2007, while sharks are being hunted for their fins to make soup for Far East diners and the rosewood tree is being felled in increasing numbers.
Conservationists, governments and other agencies have made progress in tackling illegal poaching in recent decades but hunters were now sophisticated international gangs feeding emerging markets in China and Vietnam and as much a threat to a country’s stability as its wildlife.
The Prince of Wales added: “It is surely unthinkable that these creatures, which have roamed the planet for thousands, if not millions, of years, could disappear completely within a decade, or even less.
“As a father and a soon-to-be grandfather, I find it inconceivable that our children and grandchildren live in a world bereft of these animals.
“Humanity is less than humanity without the rest of creation. Their destruction will diminish us all.”…”
Source: The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall – News and Diary
To read the full article and watch the speech by HRH The Prince of Wales: http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/news-and-diary/end-wildlife-crime-conference