Prince William issues call to action as he pays tribute to conservationists

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The Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech during the Tusk Conservation Awards in London (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech during the Tusk Conservation Awards in London (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)

Prince William has issued a call to action in the face of climate change.

The Duke of Cambridge spoke at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London and called on people across the world to address climate change, protect the environment and conservation and support communities already suffering.

In a moving speech, the Duke said we “owe it to our children and future generations to act now” and paid tribute to those risking their lives to protect endangered species in Africa.

He said: “Africa remains on the frontline of conservation, playing host to the most awe-inspiring diversity of fauna and flora.

The Duke of Cambridge speaks with former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott at the reception of the Tusk Conservation Awards (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Cambridge speaks with former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott at the reception of the Tusk Conservation Awards (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)

“The forests and savannahs of this vast continent are a precious form of natural capital. This not only underpins economies and supports biodiversity, but plays a critical function in our battle against climate change.”

The duke said that following on from Cop26 in Glasgow last month “it is clear that we must see the environment, conservation and climate change through the same prism and not in isolation.”

He added: “Africa’s extraordinarily rich biodiversity has the ability to sequester vast amounts of carbon.

The Duke of Cambridge with Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award winner Suleiman Saidu (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)
The Duke of Cambridge with Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award winner Suleiman Saidu (Toby Melville/PA) (PA Wire)

“But this is only possible if these landscapes remain truly intact and are protected as functioning eco-systems.

“Our wildlife plays a vital role in keeping nature in balance and maintaining this precious cycle of life. If we keep destroying or removing the threads that make up the natural tapestry of life on earth, it will simply begin to break down, exacerbating climate change still further.”

The duke, who has been a royal patron of the Tusk Trust since 2005, highlighted the devastating impact of Covid-19 on conservation projects in Africa that have seen tourism revenue which pays for their work collapse.

He said: “Africa has been hard hit, as economies, jobs and livelihoods have been devastated by lockdowns and travel restrictions.

“Many of the Tusk projects I have been lucky enough to visit have been hugely impacted, particularly where there is a dependence on tourism to underpin their conservation work.”

He welcomed the awards’ finalists and former Australian prime minister, Toby Abbott.

Winners included Simson Uri-Khob, chief executive of Save the Rhino Trust in Nambia who won the Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa for his work of more than 30 years to save his country’s black rhino population and Suleiman Saidy, senior game ranger at Yankari Game Reserve in Nigeria, who won the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award for his bravery and efforts in cutting previously rife elephant poaching to just one case since 2015.

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