Prince Charles: 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.
I have said before that we must treat the illegal wildlife trade as a battle, because it is precisely that. The rising and apparently insatiable demand, much of it from Asia, has provided an economic incentive for trafficking to become increasingly criminalized and professional. Organized bands of criminals are stealing and slaughtering elephants, rhinoceros and tigers, as wellas large numbers of other species, in a way that has never been seen before, pushing many species to the brink of extinction.
They are taking these animals using the sophisticated weapons of war - assault rifles, silencers, night vision equipment and helicopters.Unarmed park rangers are no match for these organized gangs and high-powered equipment.Tragically, many brave rangers have lost their lives while trying to save those of the animals.
Prince William: My father and I hope you share our belief that it is shocking that future generations may know a world without these magnificent animals and the habitat upon which they depend. 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. It is, of course, even more important for each child growing up in countries where these animals live. It is nothing less than immoral that they are losing their birthright to fuel the greed of international criminals.
Prince Charles: Our profound belief is that humanity is less than humanity without the rest of creation: the destruction of these endangered species will diminish us all. Allow me just to give you some sense of the scale of the problem with a few staggering numbers: More than 30,000 elephants were killed last year-amounting to nearly 100 deaths per day. In the past ten years, sixty-two 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 eleven 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. Lions, leopards, cheetah and snow leopards, already seriously threatened, are increasingly being killed as organized crime seeks to compensate for the dwindling number of tigers
Prince William: Despite the terrible crisis that we now face, we both continue to be optimistic that the tide can be reversed. We have been so impressed by the brilliant work already being done on the ground to improve enforcement and in consumer countries to stop the demand for wildlife
We are also extremely encouraged that this issue is now starting to receive the attention it deserves at the highest levels of governments. It is heartening that many African leaders are proactively developing plans of action and seeking solutions.
Prince Charles: To build on this important momentum, the Prime Minister of The United Kingdom is hosting a meeting of some fifty Heads of State and other world leaders to agree on actions to address this problem forcefully. We are both delighted to attend the London Conference, and to lend our support for urgent action.
We are hopeful that this meeting will lead to tangible results on the ground, where they are so sorely needed. But even more needs to be done. Neither governments, international organizations, nor private companies, can tackle this enormous task alone. It will take action from all of us to beat back this highly organized criminal activity.
Prince William:In the face of such a threat, it is natural to feel powerless, but I have seen the extraordinary impact of advances in protection on the ground, and the power of social media in reducing demand for these products. Each one of us can help by raising our voices to support them. We have to be the generation that stopped the illegal wildlife trade, and secured the future of these magnificent animals, and their habitats, for if we fail, it will be too late.
So, we ask you to talk about it, to support organizations that are taking action, and to urge others to do the same. At the end of this video, there will be a list of addresses that can help you get started. Together, we can stop the illegal wildlife trade.
Let's unite for wildlife!