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Prince williamArmed Soldiers In Zimbabwe Atop A Dead Elephant In Suspicious Circumstances Image :: Associated Press

The below, text from a speech given by Prince William at the World Bank, 8 December 2014.

One of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today, is the illegal wildlife trade.

Here, criminal gangs, turn vast profits from illegal killing or capture of wildlife. Armed groups and terrorists swop poached ivory for guns, and middle-men oil the wheels of the trade in return for reward.

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.

I was inspired by my grandfather and my father who have championed international conservation, for over 50 years. They helped to bring about a revolution in attitudes towards our natural environment.

From them, I learnt that our relation to nature and wildlife goes to the heart of our identity as human beings; from our shear survival, to our appreciation of beauty, and our connection to all other living things.

Seen in this light, the extinction of any of the world's species of animals, is a loss to all humanity. But furthermore, wildlife crime goes to the heart of our security, it recognises neither national borders, nor national interests. It distorts economic development, undermines the rule of law, and fuels sources of conflict.

Unchecked, it can be a factor in the spread of infectious diseases, with a devastating toll.

Illegal trade, threatens to wipe out the natural endowment of affected nations, by depriving future generations of their heritage, and of their right to develop those resources in legitimate ways.

Indeed it suits traffickers, that areas rich in natural resources, remain underdeveloped or conflict ridden, so they can go on plundering without restriction.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is wrong that children growing up in countries, vulnerable to wildlife crime, are loosing their birthright in order to fuel the greed of international criminals, and that those children will face greater hardship and insecurity as this crime traps them in poverty.

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