WINDHOEK — Britain’s Prince William arrived in Namibia on Monday on the first leg of a tour to learn more about wildlife conservation in Africa.
It is a familiar trip for the father-of-three who first journeyed to Africa with his father, Prince Charles, and brother, Prince Harry, following his mother’s death in a car crash in Paris.
The tour, which will also see the Duke of Cambridge visit Tanzania and Kenya, precedes the 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London next month. On Monday he met Namibian Vice President Nangolo Mbumba who presented him with a rhino statue during a meeting in the country’s capital Windhoek.
Namibia is home to the largest black rhino population, at more than 2,000, whose horn is sought after by smugglers.
Kensington Palace says Prince William is making the “private working trip” as president of the United for Wildlife group and patron of Tusk, another conservation organization.
The prince has campaigned against the killing of elephants, rhinos, pangolins and other species. He has also noted that poaching has a human toll when rangers are killed, communities lose the benefits of wildlife tourism and criminal networks flourish.
Last week, the 36-year-old spoke of his love for the continent at a reception held by the Royal African Society in London.
“I first fell in love with Africa when I spent time in Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania as a teenager,” the Duke told the crowd.
“I was captivated and have been hankering to get back as often as possible ever since.”
“That is why, when you kindly asked me to become the patron of the Royal African Society last year, it was a pretty easy offer to accept.”
The Duke also spoke of his passion for wildlife conservation, an issue in which the tour is centred around.
Namibia passed legislation in 1996 giving local communities the power to create their own conservancies and benefit from wildlife on communal land, allowing them to work with private companies to create their own tourism products.
“Our model is very simple but very effective because we involve communities. There is nothing you can do to succeed in conservation of wildlife without involving communities,” said Namibia’s Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta.