Belfast Telegraph

William and Kate at film premiere

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked the red carpet as they highlighted Africa's threatened wildlife at the UK premiere of a big-cats film.

William and Kate were dazzled by dozen of flashguns when they arrived for the screening of the nature documentary raising funds for the Duke's UK-based animal conservation charity Tusk Trust.

The royal couple, who celebrate their first wedding anniversary on Sunday, stepped from their chauffeur-driven car and walked the short distance to the BFI Southbank in London as banks of photographers shouted for their attention.

Kate was wearing a Matthew Williamson grey dress, with three-quarter-length sleeves and coloured, beaded detail around the neck and sleeves, while William looked smart in a dark suit.

Mark Knopfler, lead singer of the group Dire Straits, was among the guests along with film-maker Guy Ritchie and Dragons' Den judge Deborah Meaden, a patron of Tusk Trust.

The wildlife film tells the story of life on Kenya's plains for a pride of lions and a family of cheetahs as they battle for survival. Hollywood star Patrick Stewart narrates the true-life story of cheetah Sita bringing up her five cubs in the Masai Mara game reserve and of Mara, a six month-old lion cub being raised by her mother Layla.

William is a self-confessed lover of Africa, its people and wildlife, and has worries about the current animal welfare crisis that has seen renewed interest from poachers in elephant ivory and rhino horns. Demand from consumers in the Far East and China has seen prices for the animal products rise significantly in recent years.

Charlie Mayhew, co-founder of Tusk Trust which has William as its royal patron, said about the Duke: "He's passionate about Africa and ... he's very concerned about the current crisis. We are now seeing daily reports of elephants being poached across the continent and in South Africa, the country has lost 170 rhinos already this year."

He added that the number of cheetahs on the continent stands at around 10,000 to 12,000, while estimates suggest only 25,000 lions are left in Africa.

Mr Mayhew described the Duke's ability to get the wildlife message across to the public as vital for his charity's work and the efforts of others.

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