Prince Harry honours soldier killed in anti-poaching effort

Image copyright
Reuters

The Duke of Sussex has paid tribute to a British soldier killed during a counter-poaching operation in Malawi.

Prince Harry laid a wreath for Mathew Talbot, 22, who was killed by an elephant in May.

The duke was “honoured” to pay respects to Guardsman Talbot, who played a “huge part” in conservation efforts, a post on his Instagram account read.

It comes after he claimed that protecting nature should not be dismissed as “hippy”.

Prince Harry visited Liwonde National Park, in the south-east of the country, where Guardsman Talbot had worked on a joint mission with the British Army, the Malawian government and African Parks.

“Often away from the public eye, many people are prepared to put themselves in harm’s way, in a bid to protect wildlife from poachers,” read a post on the Sussex Royal Instagram account.

It added that the duke has worked closely with park rangers to tackle poaching and “celebrates each and every one of them as heroes”.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Prince Harry has made conservation a key focus of his royal duties

Guardsman Talbot, who was from the West Midlands, served with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and was charged by an elephant on 5 May. His body was returned to the UK.

Prince Harry’s tribute comes after he claimed that protecting nature is “fundamental to our survival”.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said humanity needs to beat “greed, apathy and selfishness” to guarantee its survival in the world.

He said it is essential to “co-exist”, and learn from mistakes “to protect the world’s most valuable assets”.

Earlier, at a reception at the official residence of Britain’s High Commissioner to Malawi, he said a major collaborative effort “across agencies, borders and continents” is needed to end the poaching of animals in Africa.

Prince Harry also held talks with Malawi’s president Peter Mutharika.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on a 10-day tour to southern Africa, their first official overseas trip with their four-month old son, Archie.

Meghan and Archie have remained in South Africa while the duke is currently on a solo tour that has also seen him go to Botswana and Angola.

On Sunday, Meghan, met female activists and leaders at an event in Cape Town, South Africa.

Image copyright
Handout

Image caption

Meghan met guests at an event to honour South Africa’s female leaders

In his Telegraph article, Prince Harry warned of “vast ecosystems” set ablaze in Africa, communities destroyed for short-term gain, and said that a “natural order” between humans and wildlife must be restored.

He said: “This may well sound hippy to some. But we cannot afford to have a ‘them or us’ mentality. Humans and animals and their habitats fundamentally need to co-exist or within the next 10 years our problems across the globe will become even more unmanageable.”

Image copyright
DOMINIC LIPINSKI / POOL

Image caption

The Duke of Sussex met with Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika on Sunday

Prince Harry added that “Nature teaches us the importance of a circular system, one where nothing goes to waste and everything has a role to play.

“If we interfere with it, rather than work with it, the system will break down.”

It is not the prince’s first championing of the subject of conservation. In the September’s edition of Vogue – edited by Meghan – the prince spoke about environmental issues and his love for nature.

And earlier this month, Prince Harry was forced to defend his use of private jets after newspapers claimed he and the duchess flew privately four times in 11 days this summer.

The duke said “no one is perfect” when it comes to their environmental impact, but stressed he “occasionally” uses private jets to keep his family safe.