A message from IRF President Sean Willmore on the meeting this week with HRHs Princes Charles and William:
It was an honour to be asked to be part of the wonderful initiative on Illegal Wildilfe Trade at St James Palace, and it was great that the representation of the Worlds Rangers was sort out by Prince Charles’ team.
Princes Charles and William delivered an energetic and compelling case and they have my own, and I dare say the World’s Rangers, full support going forward.
I am extremely grateful for our inclusion, and the opportunity to represent rangers and their families, and being asked to help with the agenda for the upcoming illegal wildlife forum for Heads of State. I found out we were invited following the CITES conference in Bangkok, after the UK representatives, and that of the Princes’ Charities, heard of our intervention and side events there.
I met with both Prince Charles and Prince William in ‘one on one’ sessions. I was also very humbled and grateful for Prince William’s and Prince Charles’ genuine interest, questions, and ideas in supporting the plight of our rangers and their families as a conservation imperative.
Prince William agreed that our work mirrors the three pillars of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry; these being Military (anti-poaching), Children (support of the orphans and widows of rangers), and of course Conservation, and that he was interested in continuing the conversation and following up on their potential support for Rangers. I have already started this with their aides.
Prince Charles asked about what was required to give the widows and children of the 1000 rangers killed, support and dignity and he said that he was interested in pursuing it given that it’s relatively achievable ($2 million). I also presented him with a copy of The Thin Green Line film to which he gratefully accepted.
I have already had follow-up conversations with their Royal Highnesses and their teams.
I will be here in London until June 1st and I am happy to avail myself should they wish to further discuss this in person, and in progressing the discussion for the Heads of State Agenda for later in the year, from our frontline perspective.
I will also be catching up with the UK rangers and having a meeting with Jane Goodall. I’ve also met with Born Free to get tax deduction status for TGLF in the UK.
We will be doing a big media release shortly with some great photos of Prince William holding a baby TGLF t-shirt and the caption “A Junior Ranger in the Ranks”
We are hopeful this photo will be used worldwide.
I’ll then be heading to Uganda, Kenya and maybe DRC to talk about ranger associations and priorities there.
Meanwhile the African Indigenous Exchange is going beautifully according to Peter Cleary who is guiding them through Kakadu National Park. They are now in Darwin..
Photos and more coming soon.
Best to you all.
International Ranger Federation