William, Angry Birds in fight against poaching

William, Angry Birds in fight against poaching
Picture taken on shows Rovio, Finnish maker of the popular mobile game "Angry Birds", CEO Mikael Hed posing with two "Angry Bird" characters at the company premises in Espoo, Finland, on January 21, 2011.

LONDON - Prince William teamed up with the maker of Angry Birds to release a game yesterday that will highlight the dangers of poaching for animal species ranging from elephants to anteaters.

The British royal warned about the "illegal slaughter of tens of thousands of animals" and said the trade in animal parts was helping to fund criminal gangs and even extremist groups.

"These species are being pushed to the brink of extinction due to poaching. These magnificent creatures will die out in the wild during my lifetime if we do not take notice now," he said in a recorded message.

The game, Roll With The Pangolins, is about anteaters that are hunted for their meat and their scales, which are used in traditional medicine.

It will be available to an estimated 200 million Angry Birds players worldwide, and yesterday marked the start of a week-long tournament in the game.

The Prince, whose United for Wildlife charity is organising the initiative along with Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment, urged players to come together to "save magnificent creatures".

Despite a ban on the trade of pangolins caught in the wild, more than one million of them have been traded in the last decade and the animal is at risk of becoming extinct, United for Wildlife said.

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