Prince William has penned a powerful essay for the new book The Last Elephants, detailing his passion for protecting the species and for animal rights. The book celebrates the lives of the species of pachyderms and details the threats they are facing, specifically in Africa, and features amazing photographs of elephants in their natural habitat.
“I’m not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear and have to explain to our children why we lost this battle when we had the tools to win it,” William writes in the foreword, adding there were nearly a million elephants in Africa when he was born in 1982. Shockingly, he goes on to write their numbers had plummeted to 350,000 when Princess Charlotte was born in 2015, and says the species could be “gone from the wild” by the time his daughter turns 25.
“This crisis is not just about animals – it’s also about people,” he continues. “It is some of the world’s poorest who will suffer when their natural resources are stripped from them illegally and brutally. It is families in the world’s most vulnerable regions who suffer when two rangers a week are killed on the frontline of this fight... It is fragile democratic systems in many nations that are at risk from the source of war, violence and corruption that the illegal wildlife trade funds and fuels.”
The duke goes on to say there have been “encouraging signs” in the conservation fight, including China and the United States banning domestic trade in ivory.
In 2018, William flew to Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya in a plane bearing the hashtag #EndWildlifeCrime. During his time in the sub-Saharan Africa, he met with the heads of programs for United for Wildlife as well as Tusk Trust, an organization that seeks to stop the illegal poaching of elephants. The duke learned about the work each organization does to end animal cruelty.
He also took part in several safaris, where he visited the natural habitats of elephants and rhinos and chatted with locals about their experiences with preservation. When speaking to those who work with Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, the Duke of Cambridge shared: “This is why I wanted to come to Namibia – to listen and learn. It is also why Namibia’s voice on these difficult subjects at the upcoming conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in London in October is so important.”
He also spoke passionately about the rangers who protect animals in the region. “I was staggered by the beauty and sheer remoteness of this incredible landscape,” he said. “And I was humbled by the dedication of the rangers who protect the unique population of desert rhino from poachers.”