Royals back fight against poaching

2013-05-21 22:35

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London - Britain's Prince Charles and his son Prince William urged an end to the poaching of wild animals in Africa Tuesday.

"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," Charles, heir to the British throne, told an international poaching conference.

Organised gangs were slaughtering elephants, rhino and tigers in large numbers, he said, calling it "economic sabotage".

"They are taking these animals, sometimes in unimaginably high numbers, using the weapons of war - assault rifles, silencers, night vision equipment and helicopters."

The prince, who is president of the British chapter of the World Wildlife Fund, said the illegal trade in wildlife was not only a serious crime, but "also a pervasive instrument in destabilising economic and political security" with some of its profits traced to terrorist groups, he said.

"When the illegal trade in wildlife is coupled with crime involving timber, the illegal trade in flora and fauna, [it] is ranked as the fourth biggest transnational crime - with a value of $17bn - just behind trafficking in weapons, drugs and people," Charles said.

"Stamping out the illegal wildlife trade needs to be placed very near the top of the global agenda," William said.

"It needs to be addressed by world leaders as urgent priority."

He said he had set his foundation the task of educating young people to help turn public opinion against the poachers.

"Now is the time for young people who believe passionately in protecting these species to speak out before it's too late."

Read more on:    wwf  |  prince william  |  prince charles  |  poaching  |  conservation  |  rhino poaching

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