MALAWI – Britain’s Prince Harry on Monday paid tribute to a British soldier who was killed during an anti-poaching patrol operation in southeastern Malawi. He laid a wreath for Mathew Talbot, 22, who was killed by an elephant on 05 May. His body was repatriated to the UK.
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 undertakes a solo tour that has also seen him go to Botswana and Angola.
The duke was honoured to pay respects to Guardsman Talbot who played a “huge part” in conservation efforts, a post on his Instagram account reads.
According to Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the elephant pulled Talbot from a tree he had climbed and trampled him.
Prince Harry visited Liwonde National Park, in the south-east of the country, where Guardsman Talbot who was from the West Midlands 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,” the post on the Sussex Royal Instagram account says.
It adds that the duke has worked closely with park rangers to tackle poaching and “celebrates every one of them as heroes”.
“Anyone who puts themselves in harm’s way while serving their country should be hugely appreciated,” he told AFP.
Prince Harry lauded the collaboration between the UK and Malawi to win the fight against illegal wildlife trade, from tackling poachers on the ground to sentencing them in court.
“This work is successfully rooting out wildlife criminals at every stage and removing the incentive by prioritising punishment,” he said.
In his Telegraph opinion on Monday, Harry emphasised a necessity to restore the balance between humans and nature.
“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,” the conservation advocate wrote.
“It is being in Africa that makes me fully understand and appreciate this,” he added.
Under a metal sculpture made from snares and weapons removed from the park, Harry inducted Liwonde National Park and Mangochi Forest Reserve into the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a global network of protected forests.
Malawi’s director of wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa said the Duke of Sussex’s visit was a big boost to the aid-dependent country’s tourism industry.
“The visit has managed to raise the profile of Liwonde National Park which is a huge tourism booster as everyone would want to visit a forestry area designated as Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy,” Kumchedwa said.
“But it also gives us the platform for an exchange of good practices but also for possible investment into the conservation of natural resources that are in these protected areas.
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” was needed to end the poaching of animals in Africa.
Prince Harry also held talks with Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika.