“Lawrence Munro and I met in South Africa last year and have been in contact since. We got him to give a fantastic brief to the Ranger students at Kruger on their graduation. He is now is working with African Parks as their operations manager in Liwonde. He’s one of the best.”
Frontline hero! Prince Harry has revealed details of his incredible summer in Southern Africa, where he joined one of the world’s biggest wildlife conservation projects to move 500 elephants to a sanctuary.
Pictures and video released by Kensington Palace on Friday, October 28, show the prince hard at work in Malawi, helping conservationists relocate the animals to safer homes, away from the dangers of poaching, overcrowding and starvation.
“Marking one of the young males so that he is easily identifiable when the family group is released back into the bush and we can keep them together. The spray paint disappears after a few days.”
In one shot, Harry can be seen leaning over a tranquilized bull elephant and spraying an identification mark on its giant body before it’s moved to a safer location.
“To be with elephants, such massive beasts, is a unique experience,” he said in a video of his time working on the project. “In a weird way they know we are here to help … they are so calm and so relaxed.”
Harry, 32, spent three weeks this summer working on the ambitious 500 Elephants initiative, which saw teams successfully move 261 elephants from the Liwonde and Majete 200 miles away to the new $1.2 million Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, where the elephants are now able to thrive. (The remaining 239 will be moved in the summer of 2017.)
“This big bull (male) elephant refused to lie down after it had been darted with tranquilliser. After about seven minutes the drug began to take effect and the elephant became semi-conscious, but it continued to shuffle for a while! They have a tendency to hone in on forests, rivers and people when in this state. Here we are trying to slow him down!”
African Parks, which manages protected areas and national parks on behalf of governments in the region, has been overseeing the project and also released a video showing Harry hard at work with their team of volunteers, vets and experts.
Conservationists believe that moving the herds into safer areas will help the population of elephants continue to grow and remain safe from the threats of poaching, conflict between humans and wildlife, and habitat loss
Harry — who has often spoken of his love of being in Africa — explained, “Human populations in Southern Africa have increased annually by an average of 1.16 percent from 1960 to today, from 73 million to 320 million. There is no question at all that Africa’s wildlife will be increasingly susceptible to growing human populations and their requirements for land.
“A few of us trying to ‘tip an elephant’. This young male was fighting the sedative drug and was headed towards the trees, which would have made it very difficult for us to get him on the truck. All directions were taken from Kester Vickery from Conservation Solutions and Andre Uys, the vet.”
“Elephants simply can’t roam freely like they used to … To allow the coexistence of people and animals, fences are increasingly having to be used to separate the two, and try to keep the peace. … There has to be a balance between the numbers of animals and the available habitat. Just how nature intended it.”
The subject of animal conservation is something dear to Harry’s heart. Last year he spent three months with anti-poaching teams in Africa.
“Elephants are one of the cores of Africa,” Harry explained. “You can’t imagine anywhere like this existing without elephants.”
During his trip this summer, Harry also helped with relocating a male rhino, antelope, buffalo and zebra. In addition, he assisted in fitting three lions in Majete with GPS collars to monitor and better protect them.
A spokesman for the royal tells Us, “He wanted to release the video and photographs, to which he has written personal captions, to draw attention to this important work and the incredible scale and ambition of the project.”