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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the Tusk Conservation Awards

12th September 2013

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Duke of Cambridge joked about spending his first night away from baby son Prince George as he attended a glittering black-tie awards ceremony championing wildlife conservationists.

Their Royal Highnesses were guests of honour at the inaugural Tusk Trust awards, held at the Royal Society in central London, which recognised the work of tireless campaigners in the field of conservation.

But The Duke joked that he might be seen checking his mobile phone to make sure all was well back home with his son.

The Duchess dazzled in a silver sequinned Jenny Packham dress and told Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who asked who Prince George took after: "Like most babies, he's got a mix of both of us."

Their Royal Highnesses' evening out came after The Duke announced that he will be expanding his work in the field of conservation and will be President of United for Wildlife. The collaboration between The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry with seven of the world's leading conservation organisations includes WWF UK, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, The International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and The Zoological Society of London.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the Tusk Awards in London

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

The Duke is Royal Patron of the UK-based African wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust, which staged tonight's awards ceremony.

In a speech to guests, The Duke started by saying: "As you might have gathered, Catherine and I have recently become proud parents - of a baby who has a voice to match any lion's roar.

"This is actually our first evening out without him, so please excuse us if you see us nervously casting cheeky glances at our mobile phones to check all is well back home.

"Like any new parents, our thoughts inevitably turn to the world that our child will inherit. It is unfathomable to imagine a world in which children who have been born in the past couple of months may grow up in a world in which rhinoceros have ceased to exist in the wild."

He added: "The possibility of extinction is bad enough for one of our children growing up here in the West, who will never experience the magic of seeing a rhino on a new television documentary; or even for my own little George, who Catherine and I very much hope to introduce to east Africa - a place we know and love - in the fullness of time.

"But for a child growing up in Africa and whose birthright and economic inheritance these creatures are, it is nothing more than immoral that he or she may never experience what his parents and grandparents knew and treasured."

Charlie Mayhew, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Tusk Trust, said The Duke's announcement today about his decision to increase his involvement with conservation was "significant" in terms of the support it would generate for the cause. He said the birth of Prince George had changed The Duke: "Like all new parents you tend to take stock and look at the world in a slightly different new light, and say 'What are we leaving our children - what's the legacy?'

"The announcement today demonstrates his commitment to conservation." BBC presenter Kate Silverton hosted the evening and The Duke presented the awards.

The Tusk Conservation Award for Conservation in Africa, which recognises an emerging individual, went to Tom Lalampaa, a conservationist working in the Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya.

Alasdair Harris, who helped to create the Blue Ventures Conservation area which protects part of the coastline of Madagascar, was highly commended in this category. The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa, a lifetime achievement honour, was given to Clive Stockil for his work in Zimbabwe over 40 years. He has helped to create the biggest private reserve in his country, which is now home to one of the biggest rhino populations in Africa.

The Duke of Cambridge expands his work in the field of conservation

Published on 12th September 2013

The Duke of Cambridge is currently involved in a number of initiatives to expand his work in the field of conservation, particularly in respect of protecting endangered species and habitats.

Through his Foundation, His Royal Highness has brought together an unprecedented collaboration between seven of the world’s most influential conservation organisations and the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The partnership, named “United for Wildlife”, is a long-term commitment to tackle the global challenges to the world’s natural resources so they can be safeguarded for future generations.

The Duke will be President of the collaboration. United for Wildlife will bring together some of the world’s largest environmental organisations and harness the resources and expertise of global leaders in business, communications, technology and the creative industries to tackle a common, universal challenge.

The alliance aims to lead the way in delivering effective responses to, and raising awareness of, conservation crises. It will also focus particularly on engaging and inspiring young people and the next generation of conservation leaders.

The collaboration’s initial work will focus on the illegal wildlife trade. United for Wildlife will use digital media platforms to highlight research results and subsequent successful conservation projects in this area, to engage new conservationists the world over.

The United for Wildlife social media platforms will be launched later this year but further information ...

Read full press release