Prince William and soccer legend David Beckham teamed up to launch a campaign that aims to protect animals from illegal poaching. According to WWF, the duo just teamed up to “harness the power of sport and social media to raise awareness of wildlife crime.”
Illegal wildlife trafficking is an incredibly lucrative business and it is a major driver in the looming extinction of species such as the African elephant, the Black rhino, and the Asian tiger.
The campaign #WhoseSideAreYouOn is a new initiative from United for Wildlife. Using this hashtag, the campaign is aimed at the younger generation and begs the question: are you on the side of wildlife, or the side of the criminals responsible for their imminent extinction?
“The illegal wildlife trade is responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands of animals a year, pushing some of our most beloved species to the brink of extinction,” William said.
“Our children should not live in a world without elephants, tigers, lions and rhinos. Enough is enough. It is time to choose between critically endangered species and the criminals who kill them for money.”
United for Wildlife was founded in recent months by the Royal Foundation, led by Prince William, and brings together seven of the world’s top wildlife conservation charities, according to WWF’s website.
Beckham got involved with United For Wildlife soon after its inception, saying at the time, “When I learned of the current poaching levels in Africa, I immediately agreed to help get this message out. It is shocking to think that we could lose these animals from the wild in our lifetimes,” The Telegraph reported.
David seemed particularly keen to back the latest campaign as it focuses on using sport to raise awareness of conservation issues. The cause has resonated with a host of sporting celebrities, including Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton, India’s former cricketer Rahul Dravid and retired South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar.
Andy, Lewis and other stars have taken part in the trend of posting photos of themselves online, holding up placards that read, “#WhoseSideAreYouOn?” to encourage members of the public to follow suit. A few days before Monday’s official launch, Princes William and Harry added a touch of royalty to the campaign by posing with similar signs that they had autographed.
William follows in his father’s footsteps in advocating for wildlife conservation. The Prince of Wales made the keynote speech February at a major international conference in London on the trafficking of endangered wildlife. There, politicians considered how to fight the illegal trading of tiger parts, elephant tusks and rhino horn — illegal business that is estimated to generate £11.5 billion each year.
Both William and Harry attended the conference, which William lauded as the “beginning of the end of this despicable trade.”
To participate, check out the campaign’s website and spread #WhoseSideAreYouOn via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social network of your liking. It is time to show the world we are a united front for wildlife!