This past Monday, Prince William’s first interview since becoming a father was aired on CNN and ITV. The interview was filmed on August 2 at Kensington Palace, and was just a portion of the unreleased documentary “Prince William’s Passion: New Father, New Hope”. The film, created by Jane Treays, is set to premiere on September 15.
Speaking with CNN’s Max Foster, the Duke of Cambridge gave the world a glimpse into how his life has changed since the birth of Prince George of Cambridge. The public was delighted to become privy to some charming anecdotes, such as William confirming speculation of his car seat practice and his devotion to his family, Lupo included.
However, family life was not the only subject William spoke of. In a humble fashion, William appears to have taken advantage of the recent increase in press interest by redirecting attention towards the charity Tusk Trust. Towards the end of the interview segment shown on television, William says that he may try to encourage his son to have an appreciation for African wildlife by recreating the bush in George’s room. This sets up next month’s documentary quite nicely. According to Foster, the documentary will cover William’s passion towards conservation in Africa and “specifically a new award scheme organized by one of his charities, the Tusk Trust.”
Wildlife conservation is not a new cause to the royal family. William’s father, the Prince of Wales, has famously worked in environmental causes for years. He clearly passed down his passion to William who has never shied away from his love for Africa. The Duke has taken many trips on safari over the years, and even spent time teaching himself Swahili. To celebrate his 21st birthday in 2003, Prince Charles and the Queen organized an “Out of Africa” birthday party- the theme chosen by William himself. Also, no one can forget his quiet and romantic proposal to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge on holiday in Africa in 2010.
Due to the reasons above, it is only natural that William would have a personal affection for Tusk Trust. The charity, started in 1990, has had tremendous success in protecting wildlife and promoting sustainable development in rural communities in 18 African countries. According to their website, Tusk began as an urgent response to extreme poaching. The black rhino population had dropped to just 2,000. Another alarming statistic showed that 100,000 African elephants were being poached annually. Through two decades of dedication and hard work, Tusk can now boast that thanks to “the support of Tusk and its partner organisations across Africa, greater protection has been afforded to some 36 endangered species over a combined land mass equivalent to 10 times the size of Belgium.”
Not only has Tusk responded to the needs of wildlife, but to human needs as well. Recognizing the need for human and wildlife interests to be combined, Tusk has offered plenty of support for African communities that live alongside the wildlife they protect. The charity recognizes that planning for both the near and distant future in natural conservation requires rural areas to be able to develop and thrive in a sustainable fashion, so as not to disturb the wildlife conservation efforts. This promotion has been able to succeed due to “implementation of greater security, infrastructure, healthcare and employment through responsible tourism and other nature-based enterprises with conservation.” By supporting these communities and encouraging conservation education through the PACE Project (Pan African Conservation Education), Tusk has been successful in creating a symbiotic relationship between African human population and their natural surroundings.
Prince William has clearly been inspired by Tusk’s work, and became patron in December of 2005. Prince William has proudly been a part of previous engagements to bring awareness to Tusk Trust and their work. Princes William and Harry learned about Tusk’s work firsthand in June 2010 when they visited Botswana to tour and take part in projects funded by Tusk. There they participated in educational demonstrations, spent time with researchers tracking predators, and met with those involved in Tusk’s initiatives. The following year Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, attended a reception in Los Angeles as part of their North America tour. The event was held to celebrate the commencement of the Tusk US Patrons Circle. The Duke and Duchess met with Tusk philanthropists and donors, including Hollywood star Reese Witherspoon.
William is the patron of many charities, all close to heart for various reasons. However it is encouraging to see such a personal investment in a positive cause. Formal television interviews are somewhat rare for members of the royal family. The only other televised interview William has given this year was for the documentary ‘Our Queen’, in which members of the royal family shared personal stories of the beloved monarch. For William to use this opportunity to spotlight conservation in Africa shows his devotion to the cause.
A few days before the documentary is set to air, Catherine will return to public engagements on September 12th. The Duke and Duchess will attend the first ever Tusk Conservation Awards. For this to be her first engagement since going on maternity leave in mid-June, the couple once again silently speaks volumes about their dedication to the Tusk Trust.