The Duke of Cambridge said it would be "terrifying and very sad" if elephants and rhinos became extinct, not just for George, but "for all the little Georges out there."
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
Prince William has spoken of his desire that his baby son, George, will one day share his family’s passion for wildlife conservation and Africa – and, in the meantime, to get a bit more sleep.
“I’ll have toy elephants and rhinos around the room,” he said. “We’ll cover it in sort of, you know, lots of bushes and things like that. Make him grow up as if he’s in the bush.”
Speaking of the legacy he wishes to pass on to his son, the Duke of Cambridge said it would be “terrifying and very sad” if elephants and rhinos became extinct, not just for George, but “for all the little Georges out there, all the children and grandchildren”, adding that “as my father has said in the past before, it’s true, it’s that family connection that you want to pass on, what you love and you enjoy, to your children.”
In an interview to be screened as part of a documentary on Sunday by ITV in the UK and on CNN worldwide – a taste of which has now been published by the British television company – the duke states his determination to continue royal links in Africa, by building on his father’s conservation concerns and his mother’s humanitarian campaigns.
His grandmother, the Queen, was in Kenya, at Treetops Lodge, when she received the news her father, George VI, had died. Prince Philip was the first president of the World Wildlife Fund UK before Prince Charles took over the role.
Willam’s own first joint overseas visit with Prince Harry was to Africa and he proposed to Kate on Mount Kenya. On Thursday the duke and duchess will be guests of honour at a ceremony to recognise unsung heroes of conservation organised by the Tusk Trust, of which he is patron.
“Education is such a huge, important issue, to educate everyone involved in the illegal markets about the damage that can be done and the implications of what they are doing,” he told her.
“The wildlife is incredibly vulnerable and I feel a real protective instinct, more so now that I am a father, which is why I get emotional about it … You want to stand up for what is vulnerable and needs protecting. Elephants, rhinos and many other animals that are persecuted don’t have a voice.”
Treays wrote that William became emotional when shown footage of a “butchered rhino bleeding to death. Tears well in his eyes and he confesses to everything being changed by the birth of his son.”
The duke says in the documentary: “It’s just so powerful. You’d think something that big and that’s been around so long, would have worked out a way to avoid being caught and persecuted, but they really don’t. I do feel anger, but I also feel really great hope that we will overcome this as a human race.”
William also spoke of his own sense of freedom in Africa, while recognising the daunting family legacy. “My mother would come back with all these stories, full of excitement and passion for what she had been doing and I used to sit there, quite a surprised little boy, taking it all in – and the infectious enthusiasm and energy she had rubbed off on me …
“Being out in the middle of nowhere in Africa, looking at the projects, seeing the beauty of nature and the natural world, is just phenomenal,” he said. “I love the fact you can go into any village in Kenya or the east coast of Africa and just walk in and have a chat with someone and they have absolute no idea who you are.”
How often does he think of Africa? “I’ve got hundred of animals on my iPhone, noises and sounds of the bush, so if I am having a stressful day, I’ll put a buffalo, a cricket or a newt on and it takes you back instantly to the bush. And it does completely settle me down.”
Asked by Treays about the legacy for his son he laughed: “At the moment, the only legacy I want to pass on to him is to sleep more and maybe not to have to change his nappy quite so many times, but as he gets older I’m sure he’ll pick up the bug of conservation.”
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