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Vulnerable wildlife has Prince William welling up

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George. Picture: Getty

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George. Picture: Getty

  • by TONY JONES
 

THE Duke of Cambridge has spoken about how the birth of his son has increased the depth of his feelings towards endangered animals.

William was left close to tears after being shown footage of a rhino attacked by poachers and left bleeding to death during filming for a documentary.

The prince was interviewed in July soon after the birth of his son, Prince George, and in the programme, to be screened by ITV and CNN on Sunday and Monday respectively, talked about his passion for wildlife and how fatherhood has changed him.

But it’s not just nature’s impressive big animals that have an effect on William. He also revealed how he is “not so good” with spiders and snakes.

Documentary film-maker Jane Treays, writing in the latest edition of the Radio Times, described the build-up to the interview for the ITV programme and the events on the day.

During the informal chat filmed at Kensington Palace William, who has a strong interest in animal conservation, told her: “The wildlife is incredibly vulnerable and I feel a real protective instinct, more so now that I am a father, which is why I get emotional about it... you want to stand up for what is very vulnerable and needs protecting.

“Elephants, rhinos and many other animals that are persecuted don’t have a voice.”

Ms Treays wrote that the prince became emotional when shown footage of the rhino bleeding to death. “Tears well in his eyes and he confesses to everything being changed by the birth of his son.”

The duke says in the documentary: “You’d think something that big and that’s been around so long, would have worked out a way to avoid being caught, but they don’t. I do feel anger, but I also feel really great hope that we will overcome this as a human race.”

William’s family, from his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, to his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, have inspired him to champion causes he believes in.

William said: “The legacy is quite a daunting one, following on from my grandfather and father. My mother would come back, full of excitement and passion for what she had been doing and I used to sit there, quite a surprised little boy, taking it all in – and the enthusiasm and energy she had rubbed off on me.”

William’s interest in Africa’s natural world is reflected in his royal patronage of the UK-based African wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust.

In the programme William stressed his love of the continent: “Africa, emotionally and mentally, has affected me. It’s magical. This is a lifelong commitment … no matter what.”

 

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