Wildlife conservation, anti-poaching hot topics during Royal visit to India

Written by on April 12, 2016 in Celebrity Critters, Critter Crimes - No comments

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge continue their tour of India today, the Royal couple visited Kaziranga National Park where they learned about wildlife conservation efforts and the poaching blight being tackled by park rangers.

Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, also hopped into a Jeep for a safari where they spotted wild elephants, rhino and other animals protected in the UNESCO site that is home to the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinos.

This is one of the last areas in eastern India “undisturbed by a human presence,” according to UNESCO.

The Prince has been an outspoken advocate for wildlife protection and has called for an international crackdown on poaching and trafficking of animal parts.

The couple later travelled to Panbari village, at the edge of the national park, where they met residents. They also visited the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation & Conservation, where they fed orphaned rhinos and elephants.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who hosted the William and Kate earlier this week, called on his government – and others – to do more to protect India’s tigers.

"Had a very good interaction with the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said of the Royal Visit to India/Twitter

“Had a very good interaction with the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said of the Royal Visit to India/Twitter

The country is home to more than 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population, which is under threat from illegal wildlife trafficking and habitat destruction.

But for the first time in almost a century, tigers are making a comeback.

The tiger population jumped by more than 500 in in India since 2010, while the global count of big cats rose by almost 22 per cent to 3,890, according to WWF and Global Tiger Forum.

“For the first time after decades of constant decline, tiger numbers are on the rise. This offers us great hope and shows that we can save species and their habitats when governments, local communities and conservationists work together,” Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International, said in a release this week.

Ministry of Tourism, India/Facebook

Tigers are making a comeback in India. Ministry of Tourism, India/Facebook

Modi also made an impassioned plea at the third Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation to protect the species as an imperative, not simply a choice.

“I strongly believe that tiger conservation, or conservation of nature, is not a drag on development,” he said.

You can watch his full address to the conference on tiger conservation here:

Main photo Kensington Palace/Twitter

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