Prince William has always been passionate about wildlife conservation, but he's even more committed to the cause now that he's got a little cub of his own at home. Speaking to the crowd at the inaugural Tusk Conservation Awards at the Royal Society in London on Thursday, Sept. 12 -- Kate Middleton's first formal event since giving birth to the couple's son, Prince George -- the Duke of Cambridge, 31, joked that his month-and-a-half-old boy could out-roar even the King of the Jungle.
"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!" the proud new dad said. "This is actually our first evening out without him, so please excuse us if you see us nervously casting cheeky glances at our mobile phone to check all is well back home."
He continued: "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 live in the wild."
William noted that 35,000 elephants had been killed for their ivory tusks in the last year alone. "The possibility of extinction is bad enough for one of our children growing up here in the West, who never experience the magic of seeing a rhino; 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," he said.
"But for a child growing up in Africa and whose birthright and economic inheritance these creatures are," he continued, "it is nothing more than immoral that he or she may never experience what his parents and grandparents knew and treasured."
The Duke, who has been a patron of Tusk since 2005, also presented two awards inside the event, which honors outstanding achievement in the field of African conservation. It was his first official outing with Middleton, 31, since Prince George's birth, and the couple's first time leaving the heir to the throne at home with his nanny.
As previously reported, the Duchess dressed for the occasion in a custom pale-gold sequin gown by Jenny Packham. The design is from the designer's special line for Debenhams department store, sold for approximately $240 in U.S. currency. She also wore Jimmy Choo "Vamp" sandals and a diamond bracelet understood to have been a wedding gift.