By Richard Palmer
The conference, bringing together key conservationists and policy makers to try to find a solution to a burgeoning crisis for wildlife and eco-systems, will mark a step change in the second-in-line to the throne's efforts to speak out on issues he feels passionately about
Prince Charles announced the summit today as he celebrated the life of environmentalist and activist Wangari Maathai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and died in 2011.
Speaking at Kew Gardens in south west London, where he planted a tree in her memory, the Prince told her family, friends and fellow activists: "One area that is of particular concern to both my sons and myself is the whole question of the illegal poaching of wildlife and its subsequent trade, which, I'm sure you will all know far better then I, has reached a dangerous crisis point and has profound consequences for crucial habitats and eco-systems on which we all depend.
"So I have asked my International Sustainability Unit to look at this issue and I will host an international gathering together with my eldest son in May when, I hope, we might just be able to help in the process of looking for solutions to this seemingly intractable problem."
Charles has been campaigning for the protection of the environment and its wildlife for decades. William, who proposed to his wife Kate while they were on a safari holiday in Kenya, has also become a passionate advocate for new measures to safeguard animals.
William, the Duke of Cambridge, is royal patron of the wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust which works in Africa on projects to preserve endangered animals on the continent.
Earlier this month, William urged a global conference on wildlife protection to do more to tackle the illegal killing of the African elephant and rhino.
In a pre-recorded video message played to delegates at the opening ceremony of the summit held in Thailand, the Duke said that entire species could disappear from the wild if nothing was done.
His father also spoke about his close friendship with Professor Maathai, a Kenyan, during the celebration of her life held at Kew's Orangery restaurant.
Known to her friends as Prof, she founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977 which has planted around 51 million trees and empowered African women by helping them develop new skills and educate themselves. More....