Rapidly growing human populations risk having a “terrible impact” on the world, the Duke of Cambridge has warned.
The Duke said that as a result, wildlife was being put under “enormous pressure” and called for the issue to be addressed with renewed vigour.
His concerns echo those of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, who in 2011 advocated “voluntary family limitation” as a means of solving overpopulation, which he described as the biggest challenge in conservation.
His grandson, royal patron of the Tusk Trust, told the charity’s gala dinner in London that measures needed to be taken to save certain animal populations.
“In my lifetime, we have seen global wildlife populations decline by over half,” he said.
“We are going to have to work much harder, and think much deeper, if we are to ensure that human beings and the other species of animal with which we share this planet can continue to co-exist.
“Africa’s rapidly growing human population is predicted to more than double by 2050 – a staggering increase of three and a half million people per month.
“There is no question that this increase puts wildlife and habitat under enormous pressure.
“Urbanisation, infrastructure development, cultivation – all good things in themselves, but they will have a terrible impact unless we begin to plan and to take measures now.”
The Duke warned that many species, including rhino, lion and pangolin, still face an existential threat because of the illegal wildlife trade.
“It is barbaric, it destroys livelihoods and communities, and it supports organised crime,” he said.
“The world is a worse place for it, and we must stamp it out.”
He also said he was pleased that the Government had recently announced plans to restrict sales of ivory within the UK.