Duke's plea over illegal poaching
The Duke of Cambridge has made an impassioned plea to stop illegal poaching in a message to launch a new version of the Angry Birds game highlighting the outlawed trade.
Prince William warned the "illegal slaughter of tens of thousands of animals" is pushing species "to the brink of extinction" and bankrolling criminal and terrorist gangs.
His message was recorded to launch an online tournament of a new Angry Birds game which features animated Pangolins - a species of scaly ant-eaters and one of the most world's endangered animals.
Any of the estimated 200 million Angry Bird players worldwide can log in to play the game, which has been created with William's United for Wildlife charity.
In the message, William warned that without urgent action, some of the world's most-loved creatures will die out within a generation.
He said: "This criminal trade is responsible for the illegal slaughter of tens of thousands of animals a year, famously elephant and rhino.
"These species are being pushed to the brink of extinction due to poaching. These magnificent creatures will die out in the wild during my lifetime if we do not take notice now."
And William urged those playing the game to "help spread the message about this crisis".
He added: "It may sound trivial set against other world problems, but it is an important part of the jigsaw - and it is one that you can do something about. There is evidence that poaching funds criminal gangs, even terrorist organisations, and it deprives ancient communities of their heritage and livelihoods.
"By spreading the message about poaching, I hope you can be part of a movement that says no to poached ivory and rhino horn, and many other animal parts.
"The humble Pangolin, a scaly anteater, is one of the most endangered animals on the planet because of poaching. The Pangolin runs the risk of becoming extinct before most people have even heard of them."
He urged players to unite to "save magnificent creatures".
The game, called Roll With The Pangolins, has been launched with Angry Birds creators Rovio Entertainment.
United for Wildlife officials hope the huge popularity of the game, particularly in Asia, will help their anti-poaching message reach millions.
Pangolins are hunted for their meat and their scales, which are used in traditional medicines.
Despite a commercial trade ban for wild caught pangolins, more than one million of them have been traded in the last decade, according to United for Wildlife.
The week-long tournament will launch online this morning.