Prince William and his wife Kate have voiced their support for Africa’s threatened wildlife at the premiere of a film about big cats.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were at the first showing of the nature documentary African Cats in London which helps raise funds for William’s conservation charity Tusk Trust.

William made a speech at the event, saying: “There is nowhere more awe-inspiring or beautiful than the vast plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Africa’s natural heritage is the world’s natural heritage. We have to preserve places like this - not just for us, but for future generations.”

The royal couple famously got engaged in Kenya and William is a much-publicised lover of Africa having spent a gap year travelling across the continent.

The issue of poaching has hit the headline again recently as rhinos and elephants have been victims.

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“African Cats shows graphically the battle for survival facing every lion and cheetah born in the wild. The natural challenges are formidable enough, without man’s interference. Loss of natural habitat, due to encroachment by human beings, is the principal reason that there are today around just 25,000 lions remaining in the African bush – 50 per cent less than 20 years ago,” the Prince said.

“There could be as few as 12,000 cheetahs. The population distribution of these marvellous creatures is patchy too. Kenya, with around 2,000 lions, has as many as all of West and Central Africa put together. This uneven geographic spread further lowers the species’ chances of achieving stable populations and, therefore, longer term survival.

“I say this not to be despondent, but to sound a rallying call. We must act now, coherently and together, if the situation is to be reversed and our legacy - our global, natural legacy – preserved. Tomorrow will be too late,” he added.

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