Prince William Shows Conservation Still Has A Problem With ‘White Saviours’

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Prince William Shows Conservation Still Has A Problem With ‘White Saviours’

By Hannah Mumby, Research Fellow, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge ; originally published on The Conversation Africa

Prince William recently spoke at one of the largest illegal wildlife summits ever held in London. He said, “Poaching is an economic crime against ordinary people and their futures.”

The quote could have been better. Poachers, after all, are merely the corner boys of the global illegal wildlife trade, the ones who benefit least financially and risk most, usually their lives. They’re ordinary people too, and vilifying them is not getting to the heart of the issue.

William had travelled to Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia in September and October this year, to learn about conservation, and a video of his trip to Tanzania was presented to the attendees. It did not go down well with various NGOs and campaigners who accused the video of promoting a “white saviour” image, given that only one African, a student, spoke to the camera, while the rest of the interviewees were international participants.