Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, has long had a soft spot for the African continent, and plans to return for a tour of Kenya, Namibia, and Tanzania in late September.
During that tour, the duke will address major issues that face the continent, most importantly, the horrific poaching of rhinos, elephants, and pangolins, according to People.
Speaking to the Royal African Society on Wednesday evening, he explained where his passion for Africa originated.
“I first fell in love with Africa when I spent time in Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania as a teenager. I was captivated and have been hankering to get back as often as possible ever since. That is why, when you kindly asked me to become the patron of the Royal African Society last year, it was a pretty easy offer to accept.”
William became the patron of the society after his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, stepped down from the role after 64 years of service. This was his first official engagement with the society since taking on the patronage.
He also expressed his sadness at the ongoing poaching problem Africa faces, and the thousands of innocent animals who are routinely slaughtered for ivory, horns, or scales. On top of the dwindling numbers of these animals as a result of poaching, people in the area also face terror as a result of poachers.
“But the illegal wildlife trade also has a devastating human impact. Too many brave rangers are tragically killed each year by poachers. Communities see their tourist livelihoods threatened. And the proceeds of the illegal wildlife trade fund broader criminal networks and threaten security,” he explained.
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???? The #TuskRhinoTrail is a London-wide art installation that celebrates the magnificence of the rhino and draws attention to the critical threat facing rhino populations across Africa due to a global poaching crisis. Today The Duke of Cambridge visited the trail – each of the 21 unique works of art will be on public display across iconic London sites until #WorldRhinoDay on 22nd September. They will then be auctioned, with the funds raised providing vital support for @tusk_org projects protecting rhino and other iconic African species.
William concluded that the illegal poaching on the continent will be a primary focus for him during this upcoming tour.
The duke also reiterated his passion for the African wildlife on Monday, during an imaginative art exhibition that has been installed all over London.
Following his trip to Africa, the prince will also address the issue at the Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade, which will take place in London in October.
It has not been announced whether William’s wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, will accompany him on the trip later this month, although with three little ones at home that could prove tricky. The continent, and Kenya in particular, holds special memories for the couple, as William proposed to Kate back in October, 2010, at the foot of Mount Kenya, per Hello Magazine.
Kate Middleton has been on maternity leave since late March, shortly before giving birth to the couple’s third child, Prince Louis, in April, and is set to return to royal duties sometime later in September.