Prince William yesterday went ahead with plans to host a reception at the Natural History Museum in London, kicking off a British government-sponsored conference to coordinate world efforts to fight the wildlife trade, despite having been embarrassed by revelations he spent the weekend hunting wild boar and stag on the Spanish estate of the Duke of Westminster.
Even his most ardent supporters were forced to admit that his timing had been 'unfortunate'.
Wiliam addressed a symposium of leading conservationists gathered by his United For Wildlife charity.
"The forces that are currently destroying some of the world's endangered species are sophisticated and powerful," William told the audience. "But this week, we are seeing the creation of an equally powerful alliance, coming together to help fight them."
The president of the Born Free Foundation, Will Travers, told a reporter from the Daily Mirror: “I don’t think it was great timing and I personally do not hunt. But I would say this; we mustn’t get these two issues confused.
“Hunting is one thing which we can all have a view about and this is all about industrial levels of wildlife crime linked to terrorist organizations which will come to our door if we don’t do something about it.”
Wildlife campaigner Jane Goodall said of William’s hunting trip: “I think the timing was unfortunate. Let’s be fair, he is passionate about the endangered species.
“So, you know, it’s just something that happened.”
The new collaboration sees seven of the most influential field-based organizations and the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry coming together win an attempt to fight illegal poaching.