Prince William's wildlife speech draws online applause

2015-03-05 09:40
Britain's Prince William feeds a baby elephant in the wild elephant valley in Xishuangbanna. (STR, AFP)

Britain's Prince William feeds a baby elephant in the wild elephant valley in Xishuangbanna. (STR, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing - Britain's Prince William won praise on Thursday from Chinese Internet users after he visited an elephant reserve in the country and condemned illegal wildlife trafficking as "a vicious form of criminality".

William's speech in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, capped off a four-day visit to China during which he also met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing and chatted with students at a Shanghai football clinic.

The trip was William's first to China, and made him the highest-profile royal visitor since Queen Elizabeth II in 1986.

At Xishuangbanna's Wild Elephant Valley reserve, home to some 250 to 300 wild pachyderms the Duke of Cambridge on Wednesday called for a crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade, which he called "a vicious form of criminality" that "erodes the rule of law, fuels conflict and may even fund terrorism".

"Traffickers think nothing of violating laws and sovereignty anywhere they can to exploit a loophole or turn a profit," he said. "And international co-operation is our strongest defence against them."

His speech came days after Beijing announced a one-year bar on imports of ivory carvings -- a move that activists have described as largely symbolic, as legal imports are minor and most seizures of illegal items are of raw ivory.

Conservationists say China is the world's largest consumer of illegal ivory, with skyrocketing demand fuelling the slaughter of tens of thousands of African elephants each year.

Beijing has made efforts to curb the trade, stepping up prosecutions of smugglers and seizures of ivory at border posts, but campaigners say the measures have not gone far enough.

"China can be a global leader in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade," William said, adding that "no tradition or fashion is worth the extinction of an entire species".

Users of China's popular online social networks hailed the prince's focus on conservation during his visit.

"Thank you, royal family, for your concern for Xishuangbanna's natural resources," one wrote user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter.

"He's so loving," another user wrote in response to a photo of William feeding a carrot to a baby elephant. "It doesn't matter whether he's bald or not!"

Read more on:    sina weibo  |  prince william  |  china  |  conservation  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.