Prince William goes hunting a day before wildlife plea

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Media captionPrince William: "It is shocking that future generations may know a world without these magnificent animals"

Prince William has gone hunting deer and wild boar in Spain - just a day before he was due to make a public plea to end the illegal wildlife trade.

In a message due to be broadcast later, the Duke of Cambridge and his father, Prince Charles, will call on people to act now to save endangered animals like rhinos, elephants and tigers.

There is no suggestion the hunt in Spain was in any way illegal.

A royal spokesman said the duke was a "passionate advocate" for wildlife.

Speaking about Prince William going hunting in Spain, BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said: "Such a trip is a world away from shooting endangered species for profit, but some may feel that to go hunting himself just as he launches a high-profile campaign is, at the very least, ill-timed."

The duke was joined on the hunting trip by his brother Prince Harry, according to the Sun.

A royal spokesman said: "The Duke of Cambridge has for many years been a passionate advocate for endangered wildlife and has campaigned tirelessly to help stop the illegal poaching of rhino horn and elephant tusk. His track record in this area speaks for itself."

'Grave threat'

The joint plea by Prince Charles and the duke comes at the start of a week of wildlife conservation activities by members of the Royal Family, which will end with them attending a conference in London on the illegal wildlife trade.

In the broadcast, they speak in various languages, including Mandarin, Arabic and Swahili.

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Media captionGlyn Davies from WWF: "The princes have an honest concern"

Prince Charles, president of the wildlife charity WWF-UK, begins the message by saying the illegal wildlife trade has reached "unprecedented levels of killing and related violence" that it poses a "grave threat" both to endangered animals and to economic and political stability in many areas around the world.

In the message, recorded at Clarence House in November, he adds: "More than 30,000 elephants were killed last year, amounting to nearly 100 deaths per day.

"In the past 10 years, 62% of African forest elephants have been lost. If this rate continues, the forest elephant will be extinct within ten years. A rhinoceros is killed every 11 hours.

"As recently as 100 years ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild tigers living in Asia. Today, there are believed to be fewer than 3,200 left in the wild."

The duke, who is royal patron of the wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust, says: "This year, I have become even more devoted to protecting the resources of the Earth for not only my own son but also the other children of his generation to enjoy."

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Image caption Prince Charles and Prince William are calling for an end to the illegal wildlife trade

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