Prince William Kicks Off NYC Tour By Fighting Wildlife Trafficking


The Duke of Cambridge will be kicking off a three-day visit to New York by campaigning against wildlife trafficking, an industry that Prince William is calling "one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today."

William is expected to address illegal wildlife trade at a conference on Monday held by the World Bank Group's International Corruption Hunters Alliance. Excerpts of his speech have already been released and reveal that the Duke is poised to target China, the country with the highest demand for products like elephant ivory.

"Some endangered species are now literally worth more than their weight in gold," the speech reads. "Traffickers are taking advantage of globalization, hiding within the huge flows of goods across borders and exploiting technology - from helicopters and precision weapons to the borderless market of the internet."

Prince William has been speaking out against illegal wildlife trade for several years now, founding the organization United for Wildlife, which brings conservation groups together under one umbrella organization. The Duke and his father, Prince Charles, released this video last February:

click to play video

Political pressure on illegal wildlife trade is needed now more than ever - over just two years, 100,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks. And, the trade has been tied to national security threats and terrorist groups. Prince William will address this and other issues:

"Our collective goal must be to reduce the wildlife trade by making it harder: denying traffickers access to transportation, putting up barriers to their illegal activities, and holding people accountable for their actions."

Also while in New York, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, are expected to meet a controversial player in the world of wildlife: John Studzinski, senior managing director of Blackstone Group, a large stakeholder in the marine park SeaWorld. The pair is expected to meet Studzinski at a dinner for the American Friends of the Royal Foundation. There's no word yet on whether SeaWorld or the topic of marine captivity will be discussed.

This story has been updated to include information about Prince William and Kate Middleton's meeting with John Studzinski.