Prince Harry in impassioned plea to save wild elephants in Africa


Evening Standard

Date Published

See link for a video with Prince Harry/African Parks.

For photo gallery (DM), go here.

Harry, 32, who spent the summer in Malawi on a major project transferring 500 tranquillised elephants hundreds of miles to save them from poachers, also released a series of amazing photos of his mission.

Commenting on the importance of this work Harry said, “Elephants simply can’t roam freely like they used to, without coming into conflict with communities, or being threatened by poaching and persecution.

“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.

“Once a fence is up, you are now managing a parcel of land. Different rules have to apply whether we like it or not. Under these conditions human intervention in stabilising nature might be required by park managers.

“There has to be a balance between the numbers of animals, and the available habitat. Just how nature intended it.

How a two-metre fence will help elephants and humans live in harmony

“In this case, African Parks, in partnership with the Malawian government, have re-established a safe area for elephants to be moved back to.

“This simultaneously relieves the pressure in Liwonde, and restocks Nkhotakota so both populations of Elephants can continue to grow. If the re-balance doesn’t take place, human wildlife conflict will increase and elephants will degrade their habitat.

“We’re then back to having to consider the worst – reducing herds by culling.”

Harry joined he “500 elephants” initiative in Malawi – one of the largest and most significant elephant relocations in conversation history.

Prince Harry helped 261 elephants to be successfully re-homed in Nkhotakota

It worked by firing tranquillising darts at the animals and then transporting them by truck and crane to a wildlife reserve in the centre of the country.

Today Harry pointed out that human populations in Southern Africa have increased annually by an average of 1.16% from 1960 to today, from 73 million to 320million.

“There is no question at all that Africa’s wildlife will be increasingly susceptible to growing human populations and their requirements for land,” he said.

It was the second summer in a row that Harry – who left the Army last year after a decade as an officer – spent time in Africa.

The ‘500 Elephants’ initiative, led by African Parks, will play a critical role in helping to secure a long-term future for Malawi’s elephants.

Prince Harry assisted with the first phase of the translocation during which 261 elephants were successfully re-homed in Nkhotakota.

The remaining 239 elephants will be moved during the second phase which will occur in the Summer of 2017.

“We are thrilled to have Prince Harry serve as an integral part of our translocation team” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks.

“He has extensive field experience and was extremely comfortable with the animals, whether helping an anesthetized elephant to the ground and monitoring its breathing to affixing radio collars.

He played a vital role in many aspects of this giant operation which requires not only all hands on deck, but a vigilance he exudes, and a commitment to the cause he embodies”.

Along with moving elephants, Prince Harry assisted with translocating a male rhino, a host of game species including antelope, buffalo, and zebra (more than 1,500 head of game were also translocated to Nkhotakota to help restore the park),

He also helped in re-collaring three lions in Majete with GPS collars to monitor and better protect them.