Wednesday, 2 October 2013

HRH The Prince of Wales Speech

For the Fundraising Dinner  Sponsored by Sir David Tang and co-hosted by Sir Stephen Fry at the China Tang in the Dorchester Hotel 

Oct 1st 2013

I am very sorry not to be able to join you in personl this evening, but I just wanted to say that I am full of admiration for Sir David Tang’s efforts to help protect China’s remaining, and much threatened, tiger population.

Along with so many others, I have been deeply concerned b the evermore alarming threats posed to the world’s unique biological diversity through large scale poaching, the illegal wildlife trade, the increasing loss of natural habitats and, on top of all this, climate change. There are few more acute and poignant manifestations of our impact on the natural world than the loss in large numbers 0 and, perish the thought – the potential extinctionin our lifetimes of a number of the world’s most inconic, charismatic and beautiful species, among which the tigers of South China – as with the rhinos and elephants of Asia and Africa –have a particular place in our imaginations and our hearts. And yet, as a result of the now catastrophic demand by consumers-chiefly in Eat Asia- for elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts, we are faced with the very real possibility of the disappearance of these species from the wild.

It seems to me that all humanity is diminished if we lose these remarkable species, and indeed that humanity is less than humanity without the rest of creation. I find it inconceivable that our children and grandchildren could live in a world bereft of these animals and these species.

It is to me, therefore, a source of hope that Sir David, Stephen and all of you have gathered together this eveing to learn more and to raise vital funds not only for critically important conservation efforts, but also, I can only pray, for raising awareness amongst consumers of the terrible damage being done to the natural world through the illegal wildlife trade. These efforts can play a hugely important role, too, in encouraging a change in the attitudes of peoples and societities. But I fear we have so little time left in which to do this which is why your support and generosity are of such crucial importance.

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