Britain’s Prince Harry on Monday paid tribute to a British soldier who was killed during an anti-poaching patrol operation in southeastern Malawi.
Guardsman Mathew Talbot, 22, was part of a counter-poaching team conducting patrols with local rangers in Liwonde National Park in May when an elephant charged at them and fatally injured him.
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 is on a three-day visit to Malawi and during a tour to Liwonde National Park, he unveiled a plaque and laid a wreath at the spot where Talbot was killed.
“Anyone who puts themselves in harm’s way while serving their country should be hugely appreciated,” he said.
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 an opinion piece he penned for the UK-based Telegraph newspaper 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 Susse**x’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.”