In a bitter irony, Prince Harry was pictured coming face to face with the bloody work of illegal poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, just hours before the palace released a selection of his own personal photographs and videos that were taken during his summer visit to southern Africa, where he worked on frontline conservation projects.
Prince Harry was left shocked and speechless after being shown the body of a mother rhino slaughtered alongside her 2-year-old calf in Kruger today.
The animals’ bones were exposed by conservationists conducting a post-mortem.
On seeing the devastating sight, Harry said: “This belongs to South Africa and it’s been stolen by other people.”
The gruesome picture clashed with a publicity initiative, in which Harry shared positive experiences of his summer in Africa by writing captions for several photographs and two videos, taken in Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, and published on Instagram.
For the picture above, he wrote, “After a very long day in Kruger National Park, with five rhinos sent to new homes and three elephants freed from their collars—like this sedated female—I decided to take a moment.
“I know how lucky I am to have these experiences, but hearing stories from people on the ground about how bad the situation really is, upset and frustrated me. How can it be that 30,000 elephants were slaughtered last year alone? 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.”
The photographs and videos highlight the urgent challenges faced by people on the ground working to protect Africa’s most endangered animals.
During his summer visit, Prince Harry worked alongside rangers who are the first to respond to poaching attacks on elephants and rhino. He also spent time working alongside some of the world’s leading veterinarians who act to save animals who have survived barbaric attacks, including the removal of their tusks and horns.
Prince Harry had chosen to release the photographs and video to coincide with his official visit today to South Africa Wildlife College near Kruger. He was impressed by the park rangers’ skills and experience and wanted to take this opportunity to highlight their specialized training and the sacrifices they make to protect some of Africa’s most iconic species.