When a member of the royal family calls out humanity for being greedy, it might be time to pay attention.
“Seeing a badly injured animal, such as a rhino missing its horn, has come to me to symbolize human greed," Prince William explained in a recent interview with CNN.
According to CNN host Max Foster, “William's passion ... is driven by the realization that unless he and others like him stand up for the wildlife of Africa, much of it could be lost forever.”
William’s connection to the African wilderness goes beyond his duties as a royal and touches on the most intimate aspects of his character. The prince proposed to Katherine in the bush, and he even turns to the soothing sounds of the wild when he is feeling down or stressed. “I regularly daydream,” William admitted. “Africa is definitely one of the places I go to. For instance, I have got hundreds of animals on my iPhone. So if I have had a quite stressful day, I will always put a buffalo on in the background or, you know, a cricket or something like that. It takes you back instantly to the bush and it does completely settle me down.”
While he cares for all the threatened animals in the bush, the plight of the black rhino has become exceptionally important to William. "This is an international global problem that needs to be faced," he said. "It's hard to put into words the depth of sadness that I would feel if [black rhinos] went extinct."
The Duke of Cambridge is doing much more than just speaking about his passions. A royal patron of the Tusk Trust, William recently launched the group’s first conservation awards ceremony, presenting the Prince William Award for conservation in Africa and the Tusk Conservation Award.
“It is unfathomable to imagine [that] children who have been born in the past couple of months may grow up in a world in which rhinoceros have ceased to live in the wild,” William said during the ceremony.
In the prince’s experience, wildlife conservation is closely intertwined with past and future generations. Born to a family that has long cared about the cause, Prince William grew up knowing Africa was a special place and that caring for wildlife was of utmost importance.
“[My mother, Diana] would come back [from Africa] with all these stories and full of excitement and just passion for what she'd been doing,” said William during the interview. “I applaud her for all her dedication and drive in doing that. And it was that, I think that infectious enthusiasm and the energy that she had that really rubbed off on me.”
The new father hopes to pass down that same passion to his own son. “I will have toy elephants and rhinos around the [nursery],” William proclaimed jokingly. “We will cover it in lots of bushes and make him grow up as if he's in the bush!”
"Prince William's Passion: New Father, New Hope" premiered on September 15 on CNN. Read more about the prince’s conservation efforts at CNN.com.