Over the past year, stories about animal welfare have gone viral via social media. In particular, the issues of holding animals in captivity, big game hunting and wildlife poaching have drawn significant criticism. A gorilla named Harambe was shot and killed at a Cincinnati zoo in June 2016 after a 3-year-old boy fell into his enclosure, prompting public debate over whether gorillas should be kept in zoos at all. In the summer of 2015, a beloved lion named Cecil was killed after a party of game hunters lured him away from the animal sanctuary in Zimbabwe where he had been living. Cecil’s death caused such outrage that the American dentist who shot him received death threats.
In February 2014, Prince William made animal welfare a cornerstone of his philanthropic goals. The Prince thrust anti-poaching policy into an international spotlight when he helped launch United for Wildlife, an organization dedicated to stopping the illegal trafficking of wildlife. As part of his efforts, he has held meetings with world leaders, including President Obama, and gave a major speech at the World Bank about the importance of a global commitment to stop the illegal trade.