Hanoi, Nov 17 (IANS) Prince William on Thursday called on the governments of the world to strengthen efforts to curb wildlife trafficking, warning that the current situation makes extinction imminent for endangered species.
Speaking at the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade, inaugurated in the Vietnamese capital, Prince William lauded global achievements to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, but warned that poachers and traffickers continue to decimate the planet's endangered animals including rhinos, elephants, tigers and pangolins, Efe news reported.
"So while we've made progress, the truth is we are still falling behind. A betting man would still bet on extinction," said the Duke of Cambridge at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference hosted in Hanoi by the Vietnamese forestry administration in conjunction with the British embassy, as tweeted by Kensington Royal Palace.
The conference, attended by representatives of more than 50 countries and 10 international organisations, aims to set out an agenda to step up efforts to eradicate the market for wildlife products in Vietnam, where demand has burgeoned with the growth of the e-commerce market, according to international wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.
The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) notes that wildlife trafficking remains the fourth largest illegal trade globally, generating some 20 billion euros ($21 billion) per year.
Criminal networks operating in Vietnam play a key role in fuelling demand in Southeast Asia, particularly for tiger parts such as bones and claws, which are seen as a status symbol and used as ingredients in certain types of traditional medicine, according to the WJC.
Prince William, the president of the United for Wildlife advocacy network, is in Hanoi for a two-day visit and ahead of the conference visited a local school to teach children about rhino conservation.