express– On Monday evening, the Duke of Cambridge, 39, attended the Tusk Conservation Awards in London. The event celebrated Africa’s leading wildlife protectors – and William presented awards to winners.
Since 2005, William has been the charity’s royal patron and this is not the first time he has taken part in the awards.
Following the presentation on Monday, the Duke, 39, made a speech before attending a reception with key members and supporters of the Tusk Trust.
However, comments made by the royal have come under fire on social media.
In his speech, which paid tribute to those risking their lives to protect endangered species in Africa, William also suggested that population growth is endangering wildlife in Africa.
The Duke said: “The increasing pressure on Africa’s wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over.
“But it is imperative that the natural world is protected not only for its contribution to our economies, jobs and livelihoods, but for the health, wellbeing and future of humanity.”
Currently, Africa’s population is estimated to stand at 1.3 billion people, and according to expert predictions, this could almost double – standing at 2.5 billion people – by 2050.
Many praised the royal father-of-three for his commentary, including Population Matters, a British charity campaigning to reduce population growth and its environmental impacts.
However, others took to social media to share their disdain.
These include journalist Nadine Batchelor-Hunt who pointed out that the population density in Africa was considerably lower than in other regions.
She wrote: “Asia population density: 100 per square kilometre. Europe population density: 72.9 per square kilometre. Africa population density: 36.4 per square kilometre.”
The journalist also made reference to comments the Duke made in 2017, prior to his youngest son Prince Louis being born.
At the time, William said that Africa’s “rapidly growing human population” was putting its wildlife and habitats under “enormous pressure”.
She added: “Prince William, with two kids and another on the way: it is clear Africa is having too many children here.”
Twitter user disinfo_adam blasted the Duke, writing “it would be helpful if Prince William paid attention in history” following his commentary.
The user whose screen name is Adam Armstrong added: “By far the greatest losses of wildlife in Africa occurred in the early 1900s when Europeans arrived with guns and hunted across the continent.
“To blame African civilians is to totally misunderstand African history.”
This was echoed by @johnnjenga, who branded the royal’s opinion “sewage”, and said he should read “good history books”.
They wrote: “Mr. William has no moral authority to say anything about Africa or about Africans and their lives.
“He should spend his time reading good history books and raising his many children and spending time with his very huge family spread out across the world. His opinion is sewage.”
Elsewhere in his speech, the future king also called for worldwide action to address the theme of climate change and protecting the environment.
He said we “owe it to our children and future generations to act now”, and also spoke about how COVID-19 impacted conservation projects in Africa.
His appearance at the event came while the BBC aired “The Princes and the Press”, a two-part documentary series about his and brother Harry’s relationship with the media.