The Duke of Cambridge has publicly praised the Chinese government’s decision to phase out the trade of African ivory starting from 31 March 2017, with the aim of a complete outlaw of the trade by the end of the year.
In a statement the royal and avid conservationist urged more countries to follow suit and stressed the necessity of such a move in order to prevent elephants from becoming extinct. He said, ‘China’s decision to ban its domestic ivory trade by the end of the year could be a turning point in the race to save elephants from extinction.
‘I congratulate the Chinese Government for following through on this important commitment. This battle can be won. We need all countries to step up to the plate and do their part to end the illegal wildlife trade and save our iconic species before it is too late.’
Poachers have killed more than 100,000 elephants over the last ten years and it’s estimated that the Chinese market buys 70 per cent of the world’s ivory.
In September 2016 Prince William spoke at an event organised by Tusk – the conservation charity of which he has been Royal Patron since 2005 – and shared his fears that wild African elephants may be wiped out by the time his daughter, Princess Charlotte, reaches the age of 25.
He told the audience at the event that he was ‘not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear from the wild.’
Chief executive of Tusk, Charlie Mayhem described this announcement as ‘very encouraging’ and said that it ‘emphasises the need for the UK to move swiftly and follow suit.’
Prince William’s role as Royal Patron of Tusk has seen him become a powerful advocate for the charity’s work, which supports conservation, education and community development throughout Africa. Of his involvement Mayhem has said, ‘The Duke’s support for Tusk over the years has been immensely helpful in raising both the profile of the charity and the funds that we need. His ability to draw global attention to the plight of endangered species being decimated by illegal wildlife trade has been warmly welcomed by conservationists across the globe and we are enormously grateful to him.’