Prince Harry shared heartbreaking images from his summer trip to southern Africa on Wednesday, highlighting his efforts on the frontline of conservation and anti-poaching projects.
The 31-year-old royal posted photographs and videos from his trip -- which chronicle his visits to South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana, and Namibia -- via the Kensington Palace Twitter and Instagram accounts, captioning each with a personal account of his work with the animals and conservationists.
“How can it be that 30,000 elephants were slaughtered last year alone?” the prince captioned one photograph of him embracing a sedated elephant. “None of them had names, so do we not care? And for what? Their tusks? Seeing huge carcasses of rhinos and elephants scattered across Africa, with their horns and tusks missing is a pointless waste of beauty.”
During his visit, Prince Harry worked alongside first responders to poaching attacks on elephants and rhinos, as well as with the veterinarians who try to save the animals’ lives after they are brutally attacked for their horns and tusks.
“Some poachers use a dart gun and tranquilize the animal so as to not have to fire a shot that would be heard,” he explained, captioning a photo of him assisting with an operation on a female black rhino named Hope, who had her horn removed by poachers. “They then hack their face off while the animal is paralysed before running off with the horn.”
The prince admitted that, during the procedure, he questioned whether or not Hope would be better off being put down, but later met a recovered rhino that gave him hope for the animals’ rehabilitation.
“And here is the proof that the battle can be won,” Prince Harry wrote on another photo. “A female rhino who had her horn hacked off by poachers in 2012. She now has a baby calf called Thembi.”
The prince also spent time with another black rhino named Zawadi, with whom he shared a touching family connection.
“My brother William fed her three years ago in Kent just before she left under a translocation project to Tanzania where she now lives in a sanctuary,” he revealed. “Thanks to the passion and stubbornness of Tony Fitzjohn OBE and his amazing rangers, she and many others are living it up in the bush and their numbers are growing. She goes nuts for carrots and I loved being able to send William this photo.”