"In my view, one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today is illegal wildlife trade," William said on Monday in his remarks at the World Bank headquarters in Washington.

"Here, criminal gangs turn vast profits from the illegal killings. Armed groups swap poached ivory for guns, and middlemen oil 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," the second-in-line to the British throne said.

Prince William is on a three-day visit to the US along with his pregnant wife Kate. It is their first trip to the US together since a brief visit to the Los Angeles region in 2011.

Noting that he is inspired by his grandfather Prince Philip and his father Prince Charles, who have championed international conservation for over 50 years, Prince William said they helped to bring about a revolution in attitudes towards our natural environment. "From them, I learned that our relation to nature and wildlife goes to the heart of our identity as human beings, from our sheer survival to our appreciation of beauty and our connection to all other living things," he said.
    
“Seen in this light, the extinction of any of the animal species 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 and it distorts economic development, undermines the rule of law and fuels sources of conflict,” he further added.

He noted that if unchecked, it could be a factor in the spread of infectious diseases, with a devastating toll. “Indeed, it suits traffickers that areas rich in natural resources remain underdeveloped or conflict-ridden, so they can go on plundering without restriction,” William said.
    
He explained that the abundance of the world's species had decreased by almost a third over the last 100 years and that new efforts to drive wildlife trafficking were needed.

On the eve of the UN Anti-Corruption Day, Prince William paid tribute to the courageous individuals who fight against corruption, often risking their jobs and even their lives. "At its heart, all corruption is an abuse of power, the pursuit of money or influence at the expense of society as a whole. Worst of all, it weighs most heavily upon the world's poorest and most powerless people," he said.

 

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