Prince William has condemned the illegal hunting of elephants and rhino as "barbaric" and called for more to be done to deal with the continuing wildlife crisis facing Africa. The Duke of Cambridge was speaking at a ball celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Tusk Trust, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved with the conservation of African wildlife.

"The need to protect wildlife in Africa is greater than ever before. You'd have thought we'd have learned the lessons years ago from the great campaigns to save the whales or to save the polar bear, but sadly we haven't. The elephant and the rhino among many others are going the same way and unbelievably will be extinct in the wild within a few decades, or even less. Do we want to allow that to happen?" he said in a speech to guests.

The charity evening in Syon House in west London was attended by celebrities including prominent businessmen Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis from TV's Dragons' Den, and singer Joss Stone. Prince William called on people across the world to get involved in the fight to save endangered animals.

"The illegal slaughter of elephants and rhino for their horns is barbaric, and it's not stylish to be associate with it. The problem of course is not unique to any part of the world. We must all do our bit. I'm so pleased to see so many Chinese guests here today and I very much welcome the recent moves that the Chinese government and civil society has made on this issue," he said.

Tusk was established in 1990 at the height of the last devastating poaching crisis, when both elephant and rhino were being slaughtered in their thousands to meet the demand of the wildlife trade.