Prince Harry says we must ‘give children the future they deserve’ amid pandemic and ‘extinction crisis’

‘We are currently living through an extinction crisis, and now a global pandemic that has shaken us to our core,’ Duke of Sussex writes

Sabrina Barr
Thursday 11 June 2020 10:25
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The Duke of Sussex has written an open letter for African Parks stressing the significant global impact of the extinction crisis and coronavirus pandemic.

African Parks is a non-governmental organisation focused on conservation, which looks after national parks and protected areas throughout Africa.

For the organisation’s 2019 annual report, Prince Harry, who has been president of African Parks since 2018, wrote a letter in which he described the connection he has felt with the continent of Africa since his first visit as a young boy.

“I knew I would keep returning to this continent if I could, for its wildlife, for its people, and for its vast expanse,” the 35-year-old wrote.

Prince Harry said that while “living through an extinction crisis”, the coronavirus pandemic has simultaneously ”shaken us to our core and brought the world to a standstill”.

“On the extinction crisis the science is clear: we have perhaps a decade to correct course before we lock in our fate,” he stated.

“On this pandemic, while much is still unknown, some evidence suggests that the virus’ origins may be linked to our exploitation of nature. The gravity of these challenges is coming to light, but we must not be paralysed by them.”

Prince Harry outlined the work African Parks has been doing to look after “some of Africa’s most embattled and vulnerable protected areas”, saying these regions “are essential for the wellbeing of local communities and in safeguarding our global climate, but only if they are protected and functioning properly”.

As he neared the end of his letter, the duke articulated how becoming a father made him feel even more strongly about protecting the world for future generations.

“Since becoming a father, I feel the pressure is even greater to ensure we can give our children the future they deserve, a future that hasn’t been taken from them, and a future full of possibility and opportunity,” he said.

“I want us all to be able to tell our children that yes, we saw this coming, and with the determination and help from an extraordinary group of committed individuals, we did what was needed to restore these essential ecosystems.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s son, Archie, celebrated his first birthday on 6 May this year.

Last month, Prince Harry shared a message of hope for members of OnSide Youth Zones, a charity that runs a network of youth centres across the UK.

In a video message, the duke praised them for not only “surviving” during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, “but also thriving”.

“These daily challenges that you guys are coming up against are unbelievable and so many people will never understand,” he said.

“Before you know it, you will be back together again, probably in a youth zone, running around having the best time ever.”

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