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Prince William Gets Teary-Eyed After Seeing Rhino-Poaching Pictures

Prince William Chris Jackson / Getty Images for St James's Palace

Prince William's benevolence knows no bounds. In an upcoming ITV special, Prince William's Passion: New Hope, New Father, Kate Middleton's 31-year-old husband explains how Prince George's July 22 birth has reinforced his commitment to protecting Africa's wildlife.

"The wildlife is incredibly vulnerable and I feel a real protective instinct, more so now that I am a father, which is why I get emotional about it," William says. "You want to stand up for what is very vulnerable and needs protecting. Elephants, rhinos and many other animals that are persecuted don't have a voice."

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His eyes well up with tears after he is shown pictures of rhinos that have been left for dead by poachers: "It's horrifying. It's hard to put into words, the depth of sadness that I would feel if they became extinct."

He adds, "It's just so powerful. You'd think something that big and that's been around so long, would have worked out a way to avoid being caught and persecuted, but they really don't. I do feel anger, but I also feel really great hope that we will overcome this as a human race."

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The British royal says he's looking forward to one day sharing such passions with his firstborn son. For now, though, he's more concerned with the newborn's sleep schedule. "At the moment, the only legacy I want to pass on to him [George] is to sleep more and maybe not to have to change his nappy quite so many times," William says, "but as he gets older I'm sure he'll pick up the bug of conservation."

After all, it was William's own mom, the late Princess Diana, who inspired him to stick up for those in need. "My mother would come back with all these stories, full of excitement and passion for what she had been doing and I used to sit there, quite a surprised little boy, taking it all in," he recalls. "The infectious enthusiasm and energy she had rubbed off on me."

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William also reveals that he often admires the continent's wildlife when he needs a mental break. "I've got hundreds of animals on my iPhone, noises and sounds of the bush, so if I'm having a stressful day, I'll put a buffalo, a cricket or a newt on, and it takes you back instantly to the bush," he shares. "And it does completely settle me down."

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Prince William KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images

Africa has a special place in William's heart for another reason—he proposed to Middleton, 31, in Kenya in 2010. "I didn't really plan it that far in advance," he admits. "I just knew I wanted it to feel comfortable where I did it and I wanted it to mean something, other than just the act of getting engaged."

The continent also provides a nice break from his royal responsibilities. "It's escaping to a kind of different world where I am just who I normally am anyway, and I can let that side, that sort of slightly immature, silly person come out a bit more than I normally do," he says.

Prince William's Passion: New Hope, New Father airs on ITV Sunday, Sept. 15, and on CNN Monday, Sept. 16.

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