Speaking at the global summit for his non-profit United for Wildlife, he paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, King Philip, and his father King Charles.
Prince William gave his first speech after becoming the Prince of Wales. Speaking at the global summit for his non-profit United for Wildlife, he paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, King Philip, and his father King Charles. He commended them for shaping his passion for conservation, as reported by PEOPLE. Prince William used the platform to speak about illegal wildlife poaching. "Our natural world is one of our greatest assets. It is a lesson I learned from a young age, from my father and grandfather, both committed naturalists in their own right, and also from my much-missed grandmother, who cared so much for the natural world," the Prince of Wales said. "In times of loss, it is a comfort to honor those we miss through the work we do. I take great comfort then from the progress we are making to end the illegal wildlife trade," he added.
About 300 global leaders were part of the summit which included the private sector, philanthropists, and conservation organizations. United for Wildlife was started by Prince William as part of the Royal Foundation in 2014, as per Harper Bazaar.
Today's #UnitedforWildlife Global Summit welcomes:— United for Wildlife (@united4wildlife) October 4, 2022
🧑💼 300 global leaders in transport, finance & conservation networks
🗣️ 25 speakers
🌍 6 continents
United in one mission to end the illegal wildlife trade for good pic.twitter.com/H3cwB3dG8e
With the illegal wildlife trade worth over $20 billion yearly, Prince William has been working against illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching ever since the inception of the non-profit. He spearheaded bringing together transport, banking, and port authorities to fight against criminals who smuggle ivory and other products and then ship them around the world. Reportedly, it involved 250 organizations in its network, leading to 450 law enforcement cases, 250 arrests, and almost 200 seizures of wildlife products. "While we do not have the luxury of time, clearly we do have a proven roadmap to success and the motivation to put it into action," Prince William said. "I hope you all leave here today energized and motivated to intensify this work. Because there are still too many criminals who believe they can act with impunity, too many lives being destroyed, and too many species on the brink of extinction due to this heinous crime."
“We set out to ensure that those involved in wildlife crime face an international response as powerful & coordinated as any other serious and organised crime... And everyone here is playing a significant role in helping us do so.”— United for Wildlife (@united4wildlife) October 4, 2022
Prince William, Founder of United for Wildlife. pic.twitter.com/sibfwbMrZe
In March, a Liberian national, Moazu Kromah pled guilty to three charges related to wildlife trafficking in Africa. He is now sentenced to five years in jail. He trafficked more than $7 million worth of rhino horn and elephant ivory. He killed 135 animals in the process in 7 years. United for Wildlife had played an important role in collaboration in getting him convicted.
Speaking about the verdict, Prince William said, "Today's sentencing demonstrates both what is possible when a coordinated international response is brought to bear against the illegal wildlife trade, and why it is essential. This is a significant victory and a landmark case." He added the conviction serves as "further proof that we have the tools to combat this insidious crime and is a testament to the power of international collaboration."
#royal Oct 4, 2022 - HRH Prince of Wales, Prince William, President of the United for Wildlife, delivers a keynote speech, first speech in his new role as the Prince of Wales, as he attends UfW Global Summit at the Science Museum in London. pic.twitter.com/Id22OkCUl0— Mace (@RoyaleVision) October 4, 2022
Chairman of the Royal Foundation Lord Hague said, "The depletion of our most precious wildlife continues. That makes the illegal wildlife trade an intolerable offense. But its association with violent crime, corruption, people trafficking, and even terrorist financing makes it of the utmost seriousness."
"Our response, therefore, needs to be similarly organized, similarly global in scope, and just as serious as the crime we are fighting," Lord Hauge added. "It is the breadth and diversity of the collaboration that makes the United for Wildlife network unique in its work to defeat illegal wildlife crime."
There was a special tribute for 1,000 wildlife rangers who died in the past 10 years. It included Anton Mzimba, who was shot dead by two men in front of his wife and seven children, after 25 years of service. The Prince of Wales expressed that he was "deeply saddened" by his death. "Anton dedicated himself to the protection of wildlife, undertaking his role diligently and professionally despite threats to his life," the royal heir said. "He stood up to violent criminals and paid the ultimate price. It is only right that we pay tribute to him and all the other selfless rangers and frontline conservationists here today. And it is also only right that we honor him by continuing our work with renewed focus and vigor."
Prince William @united4wildlife summit, speaking about ranger Anton Mzimba: He “stood up to violent criminals and paid the ultimate price” #royal #princeofwales #princewilliam pic.twitter.com/9PcBHNhlX2— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) October 4, 2022
The delegates watched the final scenes of the film, Rhino Man, in which Mzimba spoke about passing on their love for nature and wildlife to the next generation. Poignantly, he says in the film, "I have had an amazing career. One day, not so long from now, I will hang up my boots. As I get closer to that day, my heart grows heavy." William and Kate Middleton in their new roles are looking to "deepen the trust and respect of the people of Wales". They want to continue their long-running projects. Kate Middleton also wants to focus on her cause to support children in their early years.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Oli Scarff