Speaking at a gala event in London, the Duke of Cambridge said a rapidly increasing population is putting “enormous pressure” on animal species. As royal patron of the Tusk Trust, he told the dinner on Thursday night that there is an urgent need for a strategy that will allow humans and animal species to share the environment.
“In my lifetime, we have seen global wildlife populations decline by over half,” he said. “We are going to have to work much harder, and think much deeper, if we are to ensure that human beings and the other species of animal with which we share this planet can continue to co-exist.
“Africa’s rapidly growing human population is predicted to more than double by 2050 – a staggering increase of three and a half million people per month. There is no question that this increase puts wildlife and habitat under enormous pressure. Urbanization, infrastructure development, cultivation – all good things in themselves, but they will have a terrible impact unless we begin to plan and to take measures now.”
He added that overgrazing and poor water supplies will have a “catastrophic effect” on animal species if new measures to tackle the challenge fail to be implemented. His calls echoed those of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who in 2011 suggested a policy of “voluntary family limitation” to tackle overpopulation, which he billed as the biggest challenge in conservation.
Prince William also took the chance to speak out against the disastrous effects of illegal animal trade on both wildlife and people. “It is barbaric, it destroys livelihoods and communities, and it supports organized crime,” he said. “The world is a worse place for it, and we must stamp it out.”