Prince William expressed his concern over the "horrifying" rate in which endangered species were being killed for the illicit trade of contraband animal products, including ivory, rhino horn, and pangolin, tiger and bear parts. The Duke of Cambridge arrived in Hanoi for the international conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade.

Prince William said there was "much to be proud of" when it came to efforts to halt illegal poaching. But he said the "brutality" of poachers and crime gangs was still escalating. The 34-year-old called on the U.K. to issue a total ban on the domestic ivory trade, as implemented by China and the U.S.

"China has already signalled a total ban, the USA has instituted one, and other nations, including the United Kingdom, are considering it," he told the conference on illegal wildlife trade in Hanoi. "We know now what previous generations did not - ivory treated as a commodity is the fuel of extinction.

"Ivory is not something to be desired and when removed from an elephant it is not beautiful. So, the question is: why are we still trading it? We need governments to send a clear signal that trading in ivory is abhorrent," he added.

Teresa Telecky, director of the wildlife department for the Human Society International, said: “The statement demonstrates high-level government commitment to stamping out poaching and illegal wildlife trade.”

Watch Prince William's full speech here: