Joss Stone and some Dragons support William's campaign to save elephants with the Tusk Trust

The Duke of Cambridge has issued a stark warning about the future of the rhino and elephant as he celebrated a leading conservation charity working to protect Africa’s wildlife.

William said the endangered species were threatened with extinction within a few decades and that illegally hunting the animals for their horns or tusks was “barbaric”.

His comments came as he gave the keynote speech at a fundraising ball marking the 25th anniversary of the organisation Tusk Trust which William has supported for almost a decade as royal patron.

The black-tie dinner was held in the sumptuous surroundings of Syon House, the home of the Duke of Northumberland, and among the 500 guests were Dragons’ Den stars Deborah Meaden, a Tusk Trust patron, and her guest Peter Jones and ex-Dragon Theo Paphitis.

William greeted the Dragons then made them laugh when he said: “I’ve watched Dragons’ Den many times and seen you and your grilling sessions.”

Singer Joss Stone entertained the guests and money was raised by an auction of luxury items and opportunities.

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(Chris Radburn/PA)