In first speech as Prince of Wales, William supports wildlife

LONDON (AP) — Prince William delivered his first speech as heir to the British throne on Tuesday at a wildlife conservation summit, signaling that the royal family will continue to support the environment as King Charles III is forced out of his front-line campaign. cause.

William delivered the keynote address at the UN Wildlife Global Summit in London, addressing some 300 representatives of law enforcement agencies, conservation groups and companies working to combat the trade in illegal wildlife products, estimating illegal wildlife Trade in animal products is estimated at US$ 20 billion.

The Prince and his royal foundation created the Wildlife Alliance in 2014 to protect endangered species from the illegal trade in commodities such as ivory and rhino horn. The group, which works with groups that fight money laundering and other forms of organized crime, says it has trained more than 100,000 people and contributed to about 250 arrests and 200 seizures of illegal animal products worldwide.

The natural world is a gift that everyone should protect, William said at the gathering.

He said: “It’s a lesson I learned as a child from my father and grandfather, who were both naturalists, and they were staunch naturalists, and also from my grandmother, whom I sorely miss, who Very concerned about the natural world.” To Charles and the late Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II. “In times of loss, it’s a comfort to honor those we miss through the work we do.”

William cited the recent conviction of a 49-year-old man on wildlife-trafficking charges as an example of the way agencies are solving problems across borders.

Between 2012 and 2019, Liberian citizen Moazu Kromah reportedly conspired with two other men to smuggle about 190 kilograms (419 pounds) of rhino horn and 10 tons of ivory from countries in East Africa to buyers in the United States and Southeast Asia. US Department of Justice. The department said about 35 rhinos and 100 elephants may have been poached to supply such a heavy material.

Croma, 49, was extradited from Uganda to New York in 2019. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to three charges of wildlife trafficking and was sentenced to 63 months in prison.

The Justice Department said the conviction was the result of cooperation between Ugandan and Kenyan authorities, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

But William said that despite these successes, violent criminals continued to poach because of the huge profits from illegal wildlife trafficking. Wildlife ranger Anton Mzimba is believed to be one of the victims who was shot dead outside his home in South Africa earlier this year.

“Anton is committed to protecting wildlife and despite threats to his life, he has carried out his duties diligently and professionally,” said the prince. “He stood with violent criminals and paid the ultimate price. We send today to him and all other selfless The salute from the rangers and the conservationists on the front lines is right.”

William’s speech comes less than a month after he took over the role of heir to the throne as his father, now King Charles III, became monarch following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The choice of venue suggests that environmental protection will remain a top priority for the royal family, although Charles is likely to drop the issue he has championed for 50 years.

Under the rules governing the British constitutional monarchy, the monarch must not interfere in political issues. To ensure she adhered to these rules, Elizabeth went to great lengths to retain her opinions throughout her long reign.

While Charles admits he will have to be more cautious about making public statements now that he is king, he also made it clear that he plans to pass the baton.

“I could no longer devote so much time and energy to charities and issues that I care so deeply about,” the new king said in his first address to the nation. “But I know that this important work will be done by others. Keep going in the hands of trust.”

William’s own commitment to the environment was demonstrated last summer when he spoke at an internationally televised concert outside Buckingham Palace to mark the 70th anniversary of the late Queen’s accession to the throne.

Images of lush green jungle were projected on the palace walls behind William, who called for international cooperation on climate change.

“If we come together and use the best of humanity to restore our planet, we will protect it for our children and future generations,” he said.

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