The Duke of Cambridge gave a speech with a view on Thursday (22 September) as he gave a keynote address at conversation charity Tusk Trust's 'Time For Change event' at The Shard in London.

The aim of the event is to draw global attention to the continuing threat to some of the world's most endangered species from the illegal wildlife trade – and it falls on World Rhino Day – which was trending on Twitter.

Prince William, 34 made a passionate plea to end the illegal wildlife trade in ivory from elephants and rhinos. He claimed in the heartfelt speech that he is "not prepared to be part of a generation that lets these iconic species disappear."

The second in line to the throne said that he feared that "we will not know what we have lost until it is gone," as he spoke at the event organised by Tusk Trust, a wildlife charity where he is patron.

The prince lamented the effect of "poachers and traffickers" during the address in central London. He said: "When I was born (1982), there were one million elephants roaming Africa. By the time my daughter Charlotte was born last year, the numbers of savannah elephants had crashed to just 350,000.

Prince William
Prince William gives the keynote address at conservation charity Tusk's 'Time For Change event' at the The Shard in LondonBen Stansall/ AFP

"And at the current pace of illegal poaching, when Charlotte turns 25 the African elephant will be gone from the wild. We have the chance to seize a huge opportunity. We have the opportunity to end, once and for all, the mixed messages we have sent for too long about the value and desirability of wildlife products," he added.

Prince William makes personal plea to save elephants and rhinos from distinction
Prince William makes personal plea to save elephants and rhinos from distinction

William also expressed worry over the future of rhinos. He said: "Today is World Rhino Day – a species, that due to demand for its horn, is being killed at a rate of nearly three animals a day.

"Rhinos face extinction in our lifetimes, as we struggle to correct lies about the supposed benefits of using its horn as a drug," he added.

Prince William
Prince William talks with British Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Andrea Leadsom (C) at conservation charity Tusk's 'Time For Change event' at the The Shard in LondonBen Stansall/ AFP

The Duke pointed out that the threat to some of Africa's most precious wildlife is detrimental to the human population as well. He continued: "It is some of the world's poorest people who will suffer when their natural resources are stripped from them illegally and brutally.

"It is families in the world's most vulnerable regions who suffer when two rangers are killed every week on the front line of this fight," he added.

Prince William
Prince William gives the keynote address at conservation charity Tusk's 'Time For Change event' at the The Shard in LondonBen Stansall/ AFP

The prince made the compassionate speech ahead of a major global conference in Johannesburg this weekend, where countries will vote on whether to shut down domestic ivory markets.

He said: "There is huge momentum building from governments, businesses, conservationists, and the public to take the steps required to stop the killing."

He went on to note that the Elephant Protection Initiative has 14 member countries and welcomed a vote at the World Conservation Congress to call on all nations closing their domestic ivory markets last week.

On average, an elephant is killed approximately every 15 minutes for its ivory and the species' population has fallen by almost a third in Africa since 2007.

Princess Charlotte - Official Photographs Released Ahead Of First Birthday
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge looks on as she walks while pushing her toy blocks across the lawn outside as her mother Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge takes her photo ahead of her first birthdayHRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge