In a video released Sunday, the duke of Cambridge and his father, Prince Charles, make an impassioned plea for an end to the illegal hunting of endangered animals like rhinos and elephants. They speak Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish, Swahili and Mandarin in a call for the world to "unite for wildlife."
From a public relations standpoint, it's not great timing for the prince, who spent Saturday hunting wild boar and deer in Spain with his brother, Harry. There's no indication that William's hunting trip was illegal, but some observers feel that his interest in hunting could undermine his advocacy work.
"Such a trip is a world away from shooting endangered species for profit, but some may feel that to go hunting himself just as he launches a high-profile campaign is, at the very least, ill-timed," said BBC News' royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.
"Access to the best shooting in the world is one of the perks of being a royal," notes the Daily Beast's Tom Sykes. "Unfortunately for William, if he wants to be taken seriously as an ambassador for global conservation, he is going to have to forgo it, and put his guns down."
A royal spokesperson released a statement highlighting the duke's "track record" of conservation advocacy.
The Duke of Cambridge has for many ears been a passionate advocate for endangered wildlife and has campaigned tirelessly to help stop the illegal poaching of rhino horn and elephant tusk. His track record in this area speaks for itself.
Morrissey, former frontman of The Smiths, vegetarian and longtime anti-monarchist, was one of the louder voices criticizing William.
"William is too thickwit to realize that animals such as tigers and rhino are only driven to near extinction because people who are precisely like himself and his brother have shot them off the map -- all in the name of sport and slaughter," he wrote in a lengthy statement. "Just why William kills innocent and defenseless deer does not matter -- the fact is, he does it, and we must go on and on asking why any form of violence is acceptable to the British establishment."
But Glyn Davies, the WWF's U.K. conservation director, shrugged off the prince's passion for hunting.
"I'm very keen that we keep a separate understanding of rhinos and elephants and their populations and the crisis that we're facing... versus hunting boar or pheasants and so forth -- important not to mix the two up," he told BBC News.
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