"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," William says. "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."
When shown photos of rhinos killed by poachers, William's eyes well up with tears.
"It's horrifying. It's hard to put into words, the depth of sadness that I would feel if they became extinct," he says. "It's just so powerful. You'd think something that big and that's been around so long, would have worked out a way to avoid being caught and persecuted, but they really don't. I do feel anger, but I also feel really great hope that we will overcome this as a human race."
William's comments come on the heels of an announcement by Kensington Palace that the 31-year-old will in the next few weeks retire from military service to focus on his family and charity work. In particular, they revealed that William will be named president of a new organization called United for Wildlife
. The group, which brings together seven of the world's most influential conservation organisations, will direct its attention towards the illegal wildlife trade.
Flanked by soccer star David Beckham and former NBA pro Yao Ming, who are set to record PSAs for WildAid
, William described his vision for the new organization.
“The threats to our natural heritage are extensive, but I believe that this collaboration of the best minds in conservation will provide the impetus for a renewed commitment and action to protect endangered species and habitats for future generations," he said.
"At the root of the illegal wildlife trade, for example, is the demand for products that require the deaths of tens of thousands of these animals every year, pushing them further towards extinction."
The seven conservation organizations partnering with the Royal Foundation in United for Wildlife are: Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF-UK and the Zoological Society of London.
"We must work together to prevent this catastrophe and allow our children the opportunity to experience wildlife in its many beautiful and varied forms,” added William.
"Prince William's Passion: New Hope, New Father" airs on CNN Monday, Sept. 16.
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