King and Queen educated on poaching threat as they greet elephants in Kenya

ITV News' Royal Editor Chris Ship has this report from Kenya, where the King and Queen have been visiting an elephant sanctuary

Queen Camilla has helped feed a herd of baby elephants – whose mothers have been killed or died in the wild – on her State Visit to Kenya with the King.

The elephants had all been rescued by the wildlife charity, the Sheldrick Trust, the founder of which first proved it was possible to rear elephants more than 40 years ago.

Since then 320 elephants have been successfully reintegrated into the wild.

The King and Queen visited the centre on the edge of Nairobu National Park, where the elephants were fed milk from bottles, including one by the Queen Consort herself.

It is milk they would normally get from their mothers.

Charles and Camilla were also told that climate change is a major threat to the elephants survival. Credit: PA

The parents of the baby elephants had all died as they face a range of threats.

In Kenya, as elsewhere in Africa, poaching continues to threaten the elephant population as adults are killed for their ivory.

But the animals are also dying because of the rapid urbanisation in Kenya, where their habitats are lost to developments and they come into conflict with humans.

The King and Queen were also told that climate change is a major threat to the elephants survival.

Longer droughts and less rainfall mean less water for the elephants to drink. Less water, means more deaths.

The Queen pats a baby rhino on a trip to Kenya. Credit: PA

The King, who has campaigned in support of the natural world for more than 50 years, announced he will go to the next UN climate summit, COP28, which starts next month.

At the last summit, COP27, the King was told by Liz Truss, during her brief spell as prime minister, that she didn’t want him to attend. So he stayed away.

But this year, Buckingham Palace says the King will open the event in Dubai with a speech, and he was asked to go by Rishi Sunak.

King Charles also spoke in Kenya about the threat the whole world faces from climate change.

King Charles III on a visit to a street kitchen in Nairobi. Credit: PA

During a visit to a United Nations headquarters in Nairobi – the only UN office in the southern hemisphere – the King told his audience: “As I am sure the many experts in this room know only too well, left unchecked, global warming, biodiversity loss and climate change are challenges which threaten us all and can only be met by the whole of society working together in the spirit of action, partnership and commitment.”

Before they left the Sheldrick Wildlife centre, a baby rhinoceros – also an orphan - trotted up to the King and Queen.

Rhinos face very similar threats to elephants and after meeting the royal guests, the one year old trotted back to his pen.

All the elephants and rhinos will be carefully re-introduced to the wild when they reach the age of five.

 For the latest royal news, listen to ITV News' podcast The Royal Rota