Prince William has released a statement condemning the violent and unnecessary death of six park rangers at the Virunga National Park in Congo, Africa, on Jan. 10, 2021.
In a statement from Kensington Palace, the Duke of Cambridge said that the rangers have been doing important conservation work at the national park. Prince William said that they should have never been in a situation where they had to risk their lives.
Police reports stated that the rangers did not have the chance to defend themselves from the attackers. The sneak attack also left one of the rangers seriously wounded and still fighting for his life. The authorities tagged the local Mai-Mai group as the ones responsible for the attack.
Virunga National Park, established in 1925, is home to species like the eastern lowland gorilla, the mountain gorilla, and the eastern chimpanzee. Poachers have been targeting the park for decades, claiming over 200 human lives.
But this wasn't the first time William has been vocal about attacks on park rangers. During a royal event with the Royal African Society in 2018, the Duke of Cambridge said he wanted to take part in the conservation efforts not just to save animals but to curb the human impact of illegal wildlife trade.
William said that he is committed to putting a stop to this global problem as the patron of the Royal African Society. The Duke of Cambridge is also the United for Wildlife president, an anti-poaching advocate that was founded in 2014.
In June 2020, William spoke of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the work of the United Wildlife Taskforces. At the virtual conference, the second in line to the British throne said that the salaries of the rangers are at risk since tourism revenue has "dried up." He also expressed despair as poaching activities at national parks have escalated amid the global health crisis.
William also released his conservation documentary Prince William: A Planet for Us in October 2020. It chronicled his efforts to protect wildlife for the future generation. One of the scenes highlighted William's anger after seeing thousands of poached rhinoceros tusk confiscated from illegal traders in Tanzania.
Meanwhile, in January 2019, William launched the EarthShot Prize, an initiative that aims to reward people with excellent ideas on saving the planet. Within 10 years, the Duke of Cambridge hopes to find solutions to a glaring crisis that environmentalists warned will befall the world and will be worse than the impact of COVID-19.