By Gordon Rayner, Raf Sanchez
The Duke of Cambridge will push for a “zero tolerance” approach to the trade in ivory and other illegal wildlife parts when he makes his first visit to Washington DC next month.
The Duke, who has put wildlife conservation at the centre of his official duties this autumn, will stress that the demand for products such as rhino horn in the developed world not only drives the poaching of endangered species, but is inextricably linked to money-laundering and corruption.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph today (Saturday), the Duke warns that “time is running out for some of Africa’s most magnificent creatures” as park rangers fight a “battle-like” war with heavily armed poachers.
He also thanks Telegraph readers for their support of his campaign to end the illegal wildlife trade.
As part of his visit to the US with the Duchess, the Duke will attend an anti-corruption conference at the World Bank where he will discuss methods of stopping illegal wildlife parts crossing borders. He will join Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, to address more than 300 anti-corruption experts and law enforcement officials from more than 120 countries.
Halting the international trade in wildlife parts is a key aim of his United for Wildlife consortium, which brings together conservation charities. The visit to Washington will be one of three wildlife-centred engagements in the US; he will also attend a reception in New York organised by his Royal Foundation charity to recognise the work carried out by United for Wildlife charity partners, and will attend an NBA basketball match to announce a partnership between the National Basketball Association and United for Wildlife.
Next week, the Duke will present the Tusk Conservation Awards, choosing from a list of nominees who have been featured in The Daily Telegraph in recent weeks.
While the Duke’s desire to protect endangered species is unlikely to prove controversial, one aspect of the tour of the US has caused controversy across the Atlantic: the issue of how reporters covering the couple’s visit should dress.
Many American journalists pride themselves on their scruffy appearance, and have taken umbrage at guidelines from Buckingham Palace that journalists should dress smartly during royal visits “out of respect” or risk being turned away.
New York magazine asked the question: “Why should the United States’ press corps, who barely bother to brush the muffin crumbs off their polo shirts before lobbing questions at the President of the United States, schlep extra pieces of clothing to work just so they can make small talk with a (perfectly nice-seeming) British air ambulance pilot-in-training and a former chain-store accessories buyer?”
Politico, a site covering Washington politics, noted: “Our much more refined brothers across the pond are apparently worried that the American press corps, with our pride of the haggard and ill-dressed journalists, won’t be appropriately attired when interacting with the royals.”
A Palace spokesman confirmed that the guidelines would be in effect during the US visit but said there were no pro-active reminders sent out to American reporters.
“We certainly didn’t issue any directives but there is long-standing guidance that members of the media are expected to dress smartly out of respect for the occasion,” she said.
It remains to be seen if reporters in the US will use the Duchess of Cambridge’s full title or stick with “Kate Middleton”, as she is better known in America. Video.