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Prince William's message to end illegal wildlife trade

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Prince William has penned a powerful message supporting a cause close to his heart – the protection of endangered species and the need to combat the illegal wildlife trade. The future King wrote a lengthy article in The Financial Times, calling on people worldwide to back his cause.

As a father to Prince George and baby Princess Charlotte, William, 33, explained that he wanted his children to grow up in a world where rhinos and elephants still existed.

"I cannot imagine what it would feel like if the last elephant or rhinoceros in the wild died," wrote William. "And I then had to explain to my children how we let it happen. It would be impossible to reassure them with a straight face that we could still reverse climate change or end intractable conflicts."

prince william1 © Photo: Getty Images

Prince William is a keen supporter of the environment and endangered species

The Prince acknowledged that issues such as extremism and global warming take up much of the international agenda, but he explained why politicians and business leaders around the world should champion his cause.

"My riposte is that conservation is about people, not just animals," wrote William. "About 80 per cent of revenue received in Africa from tourists comes from watching wild animals, which are the ones most often threatened by poaching.

"The criminals who plunder the world's natural resources are trapping fellow human beings in poverty, denying future generations the right to economic and social development. It is a vicious circle."

prince george2 © Photo: Getty Images

The dad-of-two wrote: "How would I explain to my children how we let the last of these animals die"

The Queen's grandson also noted that 1,000 park rangers have been killed by poachers in the past decade and that militia organisations use the profits of poaching to fund conflict and massacres.

Earlier this year William visited the US and China where he raised the issue with President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping. As a result, the two politicians have pledged to ban domestic ivory markets and to work together to do more globally on trafficking.

William went on to say that momentum is building and that more people are coming on board to fight the illegal wildlife trade – something that the Prince described as "much more straightforward than we sometimes admit".

prince william2 © Photo: Getty Images

The Prince visited China earlier this year, where he managed to bring President Xi Jinping on board

The royal used ivory poaching as an example, writing: "We know which roads and which ports, like those in Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, criminals use to transport [ivory] from killing field to marketplace. Because we know all of these things, this is a problem that can be solved."

"This is a battle we can win," William concluded. "And given the importance of this issue to our global collective confidence, we really cannot afford to fail."