<![CDATA[The Duke of Cambridge condemned the illegal wildlife trade as "one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world" when he spoke at the World Bank during a visit to Washington D.C. today.
Prince William, speaking at the International Corruption Hunters Alliance conference, made his heartfelt plea to over 300 corruption experts, heads and senior members of anti-corruption and prosecuting agencies; and representatives of international organizations from more than 120 countries.
The Duke drew upon frightening statistics and facts throughout the speech, stating that the number of rhinos poached in South Africa had increased from 13 in 2007 to over 600 in 2012 and that the number of elephants poached now outstripped the number of births.
The illegal wildlife trade, which is a large problem especially in under-developed and conflict-ridden countries, has left some species “literally worth more than their weight in gold,” according to Prince William.
The Duke has been a vocal supporter of tackling this type of crime and praised his father, The Prince and grandfather, The Duke of Edinburgh for their work in international conservation and told of how it was through them that he had learnt to appreciate wildlife and nature.
In the past year, William has used The Royal Foundation; a joint venture to support his, his wife’s and brother, Prince Harry’s, philanthropic interests, to support a number of organisations helping to crack down on illegal trafficking.
Last month, as Patron of United4Wildlife, he partnered with the makers of Angry Birds to raise awareness of the endangered pangolin.
During his speech, The Duke announced that the former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who accompanied the Duke to the World Bank today, will chair an international taskforce with the aim of shutting down international trafficking routes.
After the speech, His Royal Highness attended a working lunch.
Prince William is currently undertaking a two-day tour of New York City and Washington D.C. and had met with US President Barack Obama earlier during the day. During his meeting, the Prince told the President that he was so excited with the birth of his son Prince George that he initially forgot to ask whether his wife had given birth to a girl or boy.
The Duchess of Cambridge remained in New York City today, visiting the Northside Center for Child Development with the First Lady of New York City. In a last-minute change to the couple’s itinerary, she joined her husband at a conservation reception at the British Consul General’s residence this evening.
The reception, co-hosted by Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, was originally scheduled as a solo engagement for The Duke.
The couple will attend a NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers later, before they begin their final day of engagements in New York City tomorrow.
The full text of Prince William’s speech at the World Bank is available online. Royal Central is providing extensive coverage of the The Duke and Duchess’s tour and our latest updates can be found via our Twitter feed: @RoyalCentral
Image Credits: Featured – Screenshot (Live Feed of Duke of Cambridge’s address at ICHA), Evan Vucci-Pool/Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]]>