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Prince Philip’s Environmental Activism Saved a Whole Species from Extinction

Prince Philip’s Environmental Activism Saved a Whole Species from Extinction

It’s been heartening to see the royal family use their vast resources to call attention to the fight against climate change. Between Prince William’s Earthshot Prize, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s net-zero carbon pledge, and Prince Charles’s Long historyThey are known for their outspoken environmental activism and the positive sign that they use their platforms to promote such a cause is encouraging. Really, though, they’re following in the well-trod footsteps of noted nature-lover Prince Philip. 

The Duke of Edinburgh, who was 99 years old, died last April. He was an environmentalist who was active in calling attention to biodiversity and conservation long before it was a common news topic. It seems that his activism has made him responsible for saving entire species. 

The story of the Australian rodent known as the Gilbert’s potoroo—considered the world’s rarest marsupial and kind of a mix of a rat and a kangaroo (but cute!)—is fascinating. It was once thought to have gone extinct, because it vanished in the 1870s and wasn’t seen for years. According to The Telegraph, Prince Philip’s lobbying in the 1960s to save a bird species that lived in an area of remote Australian bushland called Two Peoples Bay, which had been flagged for destruction to make way for a new housing development, inadvertently saved the potoroo as well. 

prince philip environmental

The surprisingly cute potoroo. 

(Image credit to Getty Images)

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A scientist discovered that the disappearing potoroo actually had an area population, almost 30 years after it was given protection status. Prince Philip’s successful fight to save the habitat allowed the potoroo’s population to grow to its current number of nearly 100 members, and researchers are expressing their gratitude for the Duke’s passionate conservation advocacy. “Prince Philip, in helping to save Two Peoples Bay, enabled Gilbert’s Potoroo to survive undetected — and thought extinct — until its rediscovery in 1994,” Dr. Jackie Courtenay, a conservation biologist in the Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group, Telegraph.

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