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Prince William to Visit Hanoi Next Month for Animal Trafficking Conference

Fans of royalty, rejoice: Prince William will visit Hanoi next month to attend the third International Wildlife Trade Conference.

According to People, the prince’s tour will last two days, November 16 and 17, and will focus on his involvement with international efforts to eliminate illegal trafficking of ivory and rhino horns.

Prince William and fellow conservationists have been working on various campaigns addressing this issue by discouraging Asian countries from purchasing parts of endangered animals. By dampening interest in exotic goods, they hope to put a stop to animal poaching in Africa and other parts of the world.

Last month, on behalf of the charity Tusk, the prince gave a passionate speech on the matter. “We have the chance to say that ivory is a symbol of destruction, not of luxury and not something that anyone needs to buy or sell,” he said in his address.

"When I was born, there were one million elephants roaming Africa. By the time my daughter Charlotte was born last year, the numbers of savannah elephants had crashed to just 350,000," the prince added. "And at the current pace of illegal poaching, when Charlotte turns 25 the African elephant will be gone from the wild."

Despite his regular participation in campaigns against animal poaching and the hunting of lions, elephants and rhinos, the prince’s stance on trophy hunting has been criticized by animal activists more than once. According to VnExpress, in 2014, William’s presence at a deer and wild boar hunt became the center of controversy when many international news outlets reported the incident.

Rhino horn trafficking is a serious issue in Southeast Asia, and especially Vietnam, where horns are highly sought after as a traditional form of medicine. However, there have been positive signs in recent years: last year, local officials reported a 77% decline in demand for rhino horn.

In order to eliminate poaching, the Vietnamese government will have to step up law enforcement efforts, because international wildlife organizations are getting impatient: the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), for example, has recommended sanctions as a possible punishment should the country fail to take action.

[Photo via People]

Related Articles:

Faced With Possible Sanctions, Vietnam Re-Assesses Rhino Horn Problem

Vietnam Mulls Destruction of Illegal Ivory, Rhino Horn and Tiger Bone

Report Finds 77% Decrease in Vietnamese Rhino Horn Buyers

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