The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, on Thursday afternoon.
Prince Charles and Prince William arrived, with the surprise addition of Prince Harry, at the conference today hosted by the Foreign Office. This follows a reception yesterday evening held by Her Majesty’s government, which William attended.
Having surprised all with an appearance, it seems Harry asked to join his father and brother a few days ago, since he is also passionate about conservation.William Hague, Foreign Secretary, greeted the Royal trio, welcoming them to Lancaster House, London. Representatives from 50 countries attended the conference; the illegal wildlife trade is often linked to terrorist organisations, and so it is also a matter of international security to end the trade.
Prince Charles seemed to take the lead at the conference, making a passionate speech. He announced “There is not a moment to lose”, highlighting the urgency of their mission.
The new grandfather drew attention to the fact that elephants help disperse and germinate seeds: “No elephants, no forest,” the Prince declared. Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation, Charles also said he would organise a follow-up meeting with governments, banks, accounting firms and security agencies in one months time, in order to address the financial side to the wildlife crime industry and make it less profitable for the poachers.
William, Harry and Charles were shown items that had been seized at the border from Heathrow Airport and also donned headsets to listen to foreign guests speak at the conference.
Items covered in the conference include reducing demand, which would in turn reduce supply, tougher laws against the trade and helping communities affected by such trade become self-sufficient and sustainable.
William Hague said the countries present at the conference will commit themselves to ‘treat poaching and trafficking as a serious, organised crime in the same category as drugs, arms or people trafficking’, as they signed the London Declaration. He also called the situation an ‘unprecedented crisis’ and of an ‘abhorrent trade’.
Last weekend, future-King Prince Charles and his heir, Prince William, released a video message to encourage conservationism and help protect wildlife, before this weeks conservation-based engagements began. Stars including David Beckham and Jackie Chan are also involved in the campaign. We can expect to see more of the father and son duo this week for more anti-wildlife trafficking events and conferences.