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Prince Albert on putting an end to poaching: 'We are heading towards extinction if this goes on''

2019-07-22 13:45
prince albert

Johannesburg – The 8th annual Rhino Conservation Awards took place in Johannesburg on Sunday 21 August, honouring a range of people and organisations who have dedicated their time to raise awareness for the plight of the rhino. 

Among the distinguished guests on the night was His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, who has been involved as a patron of the awards since 2014. 

Channel24 had the opportunity to meet the Prince ahead of the event to chat about his role in the conservation of wildlife in Africa and what the everyday citizen can do to play their part. 

"Since the foundation's inception in 2006, we made the safeguarding of endangered species one of our top priorities," Prince Albert explains, referring to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. 

He continues: "It was really among the first projects of the foundation. Not only rhinos but some of the other projects that we're involved in on an international scale." 

The organisation has also contributed toward the conservation of the monk seal and blue-fin tuna in the Mediterranean, as well as the grey apes in Uganda, to name a few. 

Prince Albert (Supplied)

The Prince notes the importance of recognising the efforts of wildlife conservationists through initiatives like the Rhino Conservation Awards, saying that they "are a great example of what can be done on a different scale to highlight and to thank those who are at the forefront of this fight against poaching."

His hope for the future is that more people will show their support for the awards and the organisations which it honours. "The more people who join in this effort, the more powerful the message."

And for those who question what they can do to contribute toward the fight, the Prince says it all starts with just talking about it.

"It's mostly by spreading the word and being more aware of the knowledge and information we have, not only on rhino's themselves and their way of living and of surviving, but also the tremendous habitat loss."

But that's only the beginning – he adds that people also need to try and be more proactive by speaking out against any products that come from the illegal poaching of animals. 

Prince Albert

With Hollywood's focus on Africa now more than ever, Prince Albert says it is the perfect time to use the exposure as a weapon to fight poaching. 

"It's wonderful that Hollywood is taking a closer look, and they do it sometimes in a very touching way. Of course, this has to be encouraged and diversified in different areas."

In past years the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has taken the message of wildlife conservation to the world by providing funding for documentaries which aim to highlight issues around the protection of endangered animals. The Prince mentions that they will continue to support such productions in future. 

"We think that's a great way to touch different audiences, different age groups and different sensitivities, so we really hope that it will continue and, of course, put a wonderful focus on the African continent."

When asked to share one final message with us on the importance of wildlife conservation, Prince Albert stresses the need to "lessen our impact" on the planet.

If we do not heed the warning, the future of the earth might be bleak. "We are heading towards extinction if this goes on, and we might be next, through our own fault. So I think if we really want to maintain some sort of balance we need to concentrate on those issues." 

(Photos: Supplied/Perfect Word)

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