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God Save the Rhinos

Prince William Comes to Washington to Rally the Fight Against Illegal Wildlife Trafficking.

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Prince William used his first trip to Washington to condemn the illegal wildlife trade on Monday. After meeting with President Barack Obama in the morning, the Duke of Cambridge encouraged international corruption investigators gathered at the World Bank to fight traffickers of endangered species.

“Together they loot our planet, to feed mankind’s ignorant craving for exotic pets, trinkets, cures and ornaments derived from the world’s vanishing and irreplaceable species,” the prince said.

The trafficking of rare animal parts from rhino horns to shark fins is a multi-billion dollar industry. U.S. government estimates range from $7 to $10 billion with some NGOs putting it as high as $20 billion or $100 billion, including illegal fishing and logging. And prices are rising. A kilogram of ivory went from $5 a kilogram to $2,100 over the past 25 years, Prince William said.

“Some endangered species are now literally worth more than their weight in gold, which makes it even harder for governments and international bodies to counter this trade,” he said.

Prince William came to Washington Monday morning after arriving in New York with Duchess Kate on Sunday. William spoke before the International Corruption Hunters Alliance, an organization of officials who investigate and prosecute corruption all over the world. He called wildlife trafficking “one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world.”

William, who is also the president of United for Wildlife, announced that his organization started a new task force with airlines and shipping companies to crackdown on the transportation of illegal wildlife. Former British Foreign Secretary William Hague will head up the new task force, he said.

“I am determined not to let the world’s children grow up on a planet where our most iconic and endangered species have been wiped out,” Prince William said.

 Twitter: @jtrindle

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