Prince William Accused of Racism Over African Population Comments

Prince William has been accused of racism for comments linking the human population of Africa to pressure on wildlife.

The Duke of Cambridge gave a speech to the Tusk Conservation Awards calling for the natural world to be protected from the impact of human beings, but his comments sparked a backlash on Twitter after being reported in the U.K. press.

William, a Tusk patron, handed out prizes to leading conservationists from African nations at the ceremony on Monday. He told the audience in London: "The increasing pressure on Africa's wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over.

"But it is imperative that the natural world is protected not only for its contribution to our economies, jobs and livelihoods, but for the health, well-being and future of humanity. We owe it to our children and future generations to act now."

William, who has three children with his wife Kate Middleton, said in his speech: "Africa's extraordinarily rich biodiversity has the ability to sequester vast amounts of carbon. But this is only possible if these landscapes remain truly intact and are protected as functioning eco-systems.

"Our wildlife plays a vital role in keeping nature in balance and maintaining this precious cycle of life. If we keep destroying or removing the threads that make up the natural tapestry of life on earth, it will simply begin to break down, exacerbating climate change still further."

William did not specifically mention population growth. However, his comments were condemned by many on Twitter as an attack on the continent's Black population by a figurehead from an institution with a colonial history. Kensington Palace declined to comment.

Conservative commentator Michael Knowles said: "'If the natives keep reproducing, there won't be as many impalas for me to shoot!' Morally backward as this line of thinking is, one cannot help but be amused by the audacity."

Franklin Leonard, a movie executive and founder of the Black List, wrote: "'There are too many Africans' is quite the position."

Bolu Babalola, the British author of Love in Color, wrote: "lol he is so hateful it's actually funny."

Survival International, which advocates for tribal people around the world, wrote: "Prince William says mounting pressure on Africa's 'wild spaces as a result of human population' is a 'huge challenge for conservationists'. Staggered by the racism & hypocrisy?"

The human rights organization also shared a video of Mordecai Ogada, a Kenyan ecologist, saying: "The fact is, if we look at absolute figures, Africa is more sparsely populated than Europe or Asia, and the fact is the absolute numbers of people in Africa are far from being a problem for our environment. More so for the very light footprint of the people here."

He added: "The average western family of five will have a carbon footprint of a few hundred Maasai tribesmen in Kenya."

The criticisms come eight months after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle accused an unnamed member of the royal family of making racist comments about how dark their unborn child's skin might be.

The couple did not name the royal during their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, but later ruled out Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

Prince William at the Tusk Awards
Prince William attends the Tusk Conservation Awards in London on November 22. Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Tusk Trust