Most people in Britain feel that rhinos, tigers and orang-utans will be hounded out of their natural habitats within three decades, according to a new study.
More than 1,700 people in the UK were polled for the Government's "If They're Gone" campaign, with 54% expressing fears that none of those animals will be left in the wild in 30 years' time.
Those sentiments were echoed by animal conservation experts such as Tusk Trust's chief executive Charlie Mayhew, who warned that poachers are killing one rhino every 11 hours on average.
The Government campaign was launched to coincide with the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Thailand, with animal conservation high on the agenda.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson hopes other nations will be encouraged to protect rhinos and elephants from illegal poachers seeking their ivory and horn, which is often used in traditional Asian medicine.
Mr Paterson said: "If They're Gone aims to raise awareness and encourage individuals to take action to protect four of the planet's most iconic species - rhinos, elephants, orang-utans and tigers - from extinction.
"It's by working together that we show international leadership in the fight against the disastrous trade in wildlife and the devastating impact of deforestation."
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