Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is hunting in Spain – a day before joining his father, the Prince of Wales, to call on the world to combat the illegal wildlife trade.
The duke and his brother Prince Harry are set to hunt wild boar and stags legally on a private estate, according to reports.
In a video message due to be broadcast tomorrow, the duke and Prince Charles will call on people to act now to save endangered animals such as rhinos, elephants and tigers.
A royal spokesman said: “The Duke of Cambridge has for many years been a passionate advocate for endangered wildlife and has campaigned tirelessly to help stop the illegal poaching of rhino horn and elephant tusk. His track record in this area speaks for itself.”
The royals’ plea for endangered species comes at the start of a week of wildlife conservation activities, which will culminate in them attending an Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London.
The royal pair will speak in different languages, including Mandarin, Arabic, Swahili and Vietnamese, to get their message across.
The Prince of Wales, who is president of WWF-UK, begins the message by saying: “We have come together, as father and son, to lend our voices to the growing global effort to combat the illegal wildlife trade – a trade that has reached such unprecedented levels of killing and related violence that it now poses a grave threat not only to the survival of some of the world’s most treasured species, but also to economic and political stability in many areas around the world.”
The prince and his son have worked together before to raise the issue of animal conservation and the Duke of Cambridge is royal patron of the wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust, and last year formed the umbrella body United for Wildlife to help tackle the threat to the world’s endangered species.
He said: “This year, I have become even more devoted to protecting the resources of the Earth for not only my own son but also the other children of his generation to enjoy. I want them to be able to experience the same Africa that I did as a child.”
His father highlights how “organised bands of criminals” are feeding an insatiable demand for animal products, much of them destined for consumers in Asia.
Spelling out the cost in animal lives, Prince Charles said: “More than 30,000 elephants were killed last year amounting to nearly 100 deaths per day.
“In the past ten years, 62 per cent of African forest elephants have been lost. If this rate continues, the forest elephant will be extinct within ten years. A rhinoceros is killed every 11 hours.
“As recently as 100 years ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild tigers living in Asia. Today, there are believed to be fewer than 3,200 left in the wild.”
The father and son sit side by side in their message recorded at Clarence House in November. The video features images of the carcasses of animals killed by poachers but also others running free on grass plains. It also shows Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in Africa.
The video ends with the Prince of Wales saying: “Let’s unite for wildlife” in Arabic, Spanish and Mandarin while Prince William says the same in Vietnamese and Swahili
Prince Charles will give a speech at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference being hosted by the government at Lancaster House on Thursday. Prince William will also attend and it will be hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron.
World leaders will discuss the threat to endangered species and attempt to agree on a more co-ordinated global response to the issue.
On Wednesday evening, Prince William will give a speech at London’s Natural History Museum reception marking the start of the conference. During the day he will attend a meeting of his United for Wildlife organisation at the Zoological Society in the capital.