A British Airways Airbus A380 displaying the message #EndWildlifeCrime flew the Duke of Cambridge to Africa yesterday on a mission to highlight the global threat of the illegal wildlife trade.

Prince William flew on a working trip to Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya to visit a range of projects and meet with conservationists, communities and law enforcement representatives working to halt poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be the fourth most lucrative international crime after drugs, arms and human trafficking, worth as much as £17 billion a year.

Products from elephant, rhino, pangolin and tiger are among the most highly valued products traded, and are often trafficked via established international transport networks.

The Duke of Cambridge is being accompanied on the trip by Charlie Mayhew, CEO of conservation charity Tusk Trust.

The party is being flown by the airline, a longstanding supporter of Tusk and a member of the duke’s United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce.

BA chairman and chief executive Alex Cruz said: “We are proud to stand together with the Duke of Cambridge, Tusk Trust and United for Wildlife in supporting this important mission to help send a very clear message on the need to fight wildlife crime.

“Airlines have an important part to play in preventing illegal wildlife trafficking and we will continue to help lead the campaign within the travel industry.”

Jonathon Counsell, BA group head of sustainability, is the chair of Iata’s environment group.

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