Prince William has given his first public speech since becoming the Prince of Wales following the Sept. 8 death of Queen Elizabeth.
William delivered the keynote speech at the United for Wildlife global summit in London, addressing some 300 representatives of law enforcement agencies, conservation groups and corporations, who had all gathered to tackle the critical issue of wildlife crime around the world.
In his first major speech as the Prince of Wales, William remembered his late grandmother in shaping his passion for conservation and vowed to help stamp out the illegal wildlife trade.
Telling how the Queen, as well as the King and the Duke of Edinburgh, had all influenced his passion for conservation, William said: “Our natural world is one of our greatest assets.
“It is a lesson I learned from a young age, from my father and grandfather, both committed naturalists in their own right, and also from my much-missed grandmother, who cared so much for the natural world.
There are still too many criminals who believe they can act with impunity.— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) October 4, 2022
Too many lives being destroyed.
Too many species on the brink of extinction due to this heinous crime.
Thanks to collaboration and forward thinking, our activity is having a demonstrable impact. pic.twitter.com/doDw5nysNt
“In times of loss, it is a comfort to honor those we miss through the work we do. I take great comfort then from the progress we are making to end the illegal wildlife trade.”
Prince William founded United for Wildlife in 2014 with the aim of fostering global collaboration in the private sector to prevent illegal wildlife trafficking.
Using special transport and financial task forces, the organization has helped disrupt those networks and contributed to more than 450 law enforcement cases and almost 200 seizures of wildlife products around the world.
William continued: “The illegal wildlife trade is a crime that robs us all of our most precious natural resources, funds organized crime, and the harms of which are often directly felt by the most vulnerable communities.
“There are still too many criminals who believe they can act with impunity, too many lives being destroyed and too many species on the brink of extinction due to this heinous crime.”
He added: “We set out to ensure that those involved in wildlife crime face an international response as powerful and coordinated as any other serious and organised crime. To bring their sinister operations out of the shadows and to ensure that communities are equipped, empowered and supported to protect themselves and their natural world.”