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Prince William reveals his hopes that George and Charlotte will share his passion for wildlife protection

George Charlotte © Photo: PA
Emily Nash
Emily Nash - London
Royal EditorLondon
March 15, 2016
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The Duke of Cambridge says he hopes his children will share his passion for protecting endangered species in future, joking that Prince George could become a conservation "bum". Prince William said: "I’d definitely like to see George and Charlotte in Africa, they'd have a wonderful time and I can see George being a bit of a bum sometimes out in the conservation world with his bangles and his sandals.

"But I think I’d love them to be interested in the subject and pursue the same sort of ideas and aims that I am."

PrinceWilliamITV © Photo: ITV

Prince William has given an interview to ITV News about the importance of preventing poaching

Speaking to ITV News, William also warned that the next five to ten years are crucial in the battle to save wild elephants and rhino. He said: "If there's not a massive change, a dramatic change, in the way we appreciate and protect these iconic species in Africa, there won't be these incredible animals there, which not only is obviously sad for future generations but I think it would be incredibly devastating for humanity itself when we have sat back and we have lost something we have been responsible for.

"If we haven’t achieved something in the next five to ten years then it will be almost impossible to do anything after that. Because the numbers will be so depleted, the damage will be done so badly and clearly the demand won't have been halted."

In a statement likely to spark controversy, William also said that some trophy hunting could be justified if the profits go back into protecting endangered species. While he agreed that the notorious shooting of Cecil the lion by an American Big Game hunter in Zimbabwe last year was "unforgiveable", he added: "There is a place for commercial hunting in Africa as there is round the world. It's not everyone’s cup of tea.

George Charlotte © Photo: PA

Prince William said he hopes George and Charlotte will share his interest in the conservation world

"But the arguments for regulated, properly controlled commercial hunting is that the money that goes from shooting a very old, infirm animal goes back into the protection of the other species. So when one is infertile, he's at the end of his life.

"If somebody out there wants to pay that money and it wouldn't be me, but if somebody did then as long as that money goes back into protection of the species then it is a justifiable means of conserving species that are under serious threat.

"And that isn’t just me talking, there's a lot of eminent conservationists out there who truly believe that there is a balance to be had here. And of course it is a fine balance and it does involve a lot of regulation."

William also hinted said that poaching has "possible links to terrorism" adding: "In certain areas there is potential evidence and links that I can’t go into myself but I know of that are of a concern that I think we should be taking more urgent action."

Asked whether reports that he tried to stop ivory being displayed in royal homes and palaces were true, William replied: "I jokingly had a conversation with somebody about it. Obviously I'd like to make a point that I don't think that ivory is particularly cool and I don't think it should be on mantelpieces and in people's houses anymore."

The Duke did not want to address recent criticism of his official workload, saying: "It's part of the job. Today is more about talking about the poaching crisis. And I want to turn round and turn to my children and my friends and talk to other people my age and having known we have truly made a difference, we have fixed something, we have given hope to the future. And that should give everybody a lift and realise there is hope that we can fix stuff."

He explained: "These sorts of things take a lot of time, they take a lot of planning and a lot of knowledge building, a lot of conversations. I didn’t want to get to 45 or 50 and sit back and say I could have said something about that issue but I didn’t because I worried about what people thought or what people said."

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