William to launch wildlife crusade

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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The Duke of Cambridge will begin his American tour by branding the illegal wildlife trade as one of the most “insidious forms of corruption” in the world.

William and Kate are due to arrive in New York later this evening for a three-day visit that has generated “incredible” excitement among New Yorkers.

The second in line to the throne has been campaigning to save threatened animals for a number of years and will tell delegates at a Washington conference tomorrow some animal parts are worth more then their weight in gold.

The royal couple have a varied itinerary that will see the Duke meet US president Barack Obama, the Cambridges rub shoulders with celebrities at an NBA basketball match and the Duchess visit a Harlem based organisation supporting families.

They will also pay their respects to the thousands who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks by visiting the World Trade Centre’s Memorial and Museum.

The royal visit has already captured the imagination of New Yorkers said Danny Lopez, British consul general, New York.

Describing the atmosphere since the visit was announced he said “over the last few weeks there has been incredible interest” and a huge “level of excitement” from people who want to support or be a part of the royal engagements.

William will give a major speech in Washington tomorrow after meeting the American leader at the White House and the Vice President Joe Biden.

He is passionate about trying to preserve the planet’s most endangered animals and habitats and founded the umbrella organisation United for Wildlife to try and tackle the issue and other problems.

At the World Bank Group’s International Corruption Hunters Alliance Conference the Duke is expected to describe the trade in elephants tusks, rhino horns and other animal parts as “one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today”.

Highlighting the scale of the problem William will say “some endangered species are now literally worth more than their weight in gold.”

William will stress that in China, a huge market for endangered animal parts, the wholesale price of ivory has increased from five US dollars (£3) to 2,100 US dollars (£1,346) per kilogramme in 25 years and poaching has increased as a result.

The Duke will issue a call to action urging the world to act now: “Our collective goal must be to reduce the wildlife trade by making it harder: denying traffickers access to transportation, putting up barriers to their illegal activities, and holding people accountable for their actions.

“Those who look the other way, or spend the illicit proceeds of these crimes, must be held to account.”

William will be joined by former foreign secretary William Hague, who hosted the Government’s London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in February, attended by the Duke, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales who spoke at the event.

Wildlife crime also poses a threat to world security as it “exacerbates sources of conflict” the Duke will say, and he is scathing about traffickers in animal parts: “Together they loot our planet, to feed mankind’s ignorant craving for pets, trinkets, cures and ornaments derived from the world’s vanishing and irreplaceable species.”

Published: Monday 8th December 2014 by The News Editor

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