Prince William Condemns Ivory Trade, Saying He’s ‘Not Prepared to Explain’ Why the ‘Battle Was Lost’ to His Children

Prince William has condemned ivory and other illegal wildlife trade, saying he’s not “prepared to explain to our children why we lost this battle when we had the tools to win it.”

During an emotional speech on behalf of the wildlife charity Tusk in London on Thursday, the prince noted that between his own birth in 1982 and his daughter Princess Charlotte’s last year, the number of African elephants in the wild fell by two-thirds, according to Women’s Day.

“There were 1 million elephants roaming Africa (in 1982). By the time my daughter Charlotte was born last year, the numbers of savannah elephants had crashed to just 350,000 and at the current pace of illegal poaching, when Charlotte turns 25, the African elephant will be gone from the wild. I am not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear from the wild. I am not prepared to explain to our children why we lost this battle when we had the tools to win it.”

The charity, of which Prince William is a patron, will host an international conference on the protection of endangered species in South Africa, BBC News reports.

Like his mother, Princess Diana, William works tirelessly for causes he feels passionately about and his love for conservation and for Africa is apparent. He loves it so much that he proposed to his wife, Kate, while the two were on a trip to Africa, according to CNN.

In addition to Prince Williams’ speech, his office also announced Thursday that the prince will travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, in November to attend the third International Wildlife Trade Conference in his role as president of United for Wildlife, where he will engage with local people and leaders in conservation.

William is particularly passionate and committed to curbing the demand for ivory and rhino horn by appealing to populations in Asia to stop buying the wildlife parts.

“We have the chance to say that ivory is a symbol of destruction, not of luxury and not something that anyone needs to buy or sell. We have the chance to say that rhino horn does not cure anything and does not need a legal market.”

The prince said the time to stop illegal trade is now before it is too late.

“Now is the chance to send an unambiguous message to the world that it is no longer acceptable to buy and sell ivory, rhino horn or other illegal wildlife products. Indeed, I would challenge anyone who knows the truth of how these wildlife products are obtained, to justify desiring them.”

William noted that rhinos were also at risk because of illegal poaching and trading.

“The risk is not just to elephants. Today is World Rhino Day. A species that, due to demand for its horn, is being killed at a rate of nearly three animals a day. Rhinos face extinction in our lifetimes as we struggle to correct lies about the supposed benefits of using its horn as a drug.”

He also made a point to educate others on the risks humans face from illegal wildlife trading, noting that is some of the world’s poorest people who will suffer when their natural resources are “stripped from them illegally and brutally.”

“It is families in the world’s most vulnerable regions who suffer when two rangers are killed every week on the frontline of this fight. It is fragile democratic systems in many nations that are at risk from the scourge of violence and corruption that the illegal wildlife trade fuels.”

[Featured Image by Ben Stansall/AP Images]