Continuing the solo leg of his tour of Southern Africa, The Duke of Sussex visited Liwonde National Park, in south-east Malawi today, where he paid tribute to a British soldier killed during a counter-poaching operation
The Prince laid a wreath for Mathew Talbot, 22, who was killed by an elephant in May. Guardsman Talbot had been working on a joint mission with the British Army, the Malawian government and African Parks to protect local animals from poachers.
In an Instagram post, Harry said he was “honoured” to pay respects to Guardsman Talbot, who played a “huge part” in conservation efforts.
Guardsman Talbot was a member of the Coldstream Guards, deployed to the Park, to work with local park rangers as a Counter Poaching Operator. pic.twitter.com/AlOViYxOwc
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 30, 2019
Guardsman Talbot, originally from the West Midlands, served with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards and was charged by an elephant on 5 May. His body was later returned to the UK.
Prince Harry took a plaque commissioned by his parents to the ceremony, in which they touchingly described their son as “a friend to all” who was fulfilling his “childhood dreams”.
In a statement, Steve and Michelle Talbot said that he would be “happy” to know that Harry was helping to raise awareness about endangered animals. Of course, The Duke of Sussex is passionate about conservation, and even spent a summer in Africa, privately helping out on a reserve.
After paying tribute to Guardsman Talbot, Prince Harry watched Gurkha troops take part in a demonstration of tracking and surveillance skills.
In an interest reminiscent of his father’s, Harry said that protecting nature should not be dismissed as “hippy”.
“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 Sussexes Instagram account claimed.
It adds that the Duke has worked closely with park rangers to tackle poaching and “celebrates each and every one of them as heroes”.
He then dedicated Liwonde National Park and the Mangochi Forest to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a network of conservation projects.
Prince Harry’s tribute comes after he claimed protecting nature was “fundamental to our survival”.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the Royal stated humanity needed to beat “greed, apathy and selfishness” to guarantee its survival.
He said it was essential to “co-exist”, and learn from mistakes “to protect the world’s most valuable assets”.
In his Telegraph article, Prince Harry warned of “vast ecosystems” set ablaze in Africa and communities destroyed for short-term gain. He said a “natural order” between humans and wildlife must be restored.
“This may well sound hippy to some. But we cannot afford to have a ‘them or us’ mentality,” he wrote. “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.”
“Nature teaches us the importance of a circular system, one where nothing goes to waste and everything has a role to play.
“If we interfere with it, rather than work with it, the system will break down.”
A photograph of a Boabab tree taken by the Duke at the national park was uploaded to the Sussex Royal Instagram account on Monday, along with an announcement that he was guest-editing the National Geographic’s Instagram account.
View this post on Instagram
We are pleased to announce that today The Duke of Sussex is guest-editing the @NatGeo Instagram account! This photo of a Boabab tree was taken by The Duke in Liwonde National Park, Malawi (where he has just unveiled two new Queens Commonwealth Canopy initiatives) and as part of the ‘Looking Up’ campaign in partnership with @NatGeo. • You can join in today by sharing your own images of the trees in your local community using the hashtag #LookingUp As the Duke shared: “Looking Up” is a new social media initiative to raise awareness of the vital role trees play in the earth’s eco-system, and an opportunity for all of us to take a moment, to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and to share your own view, by looking up!” • We invite you to follow along at @NatGeo and to share photos you take of trees in your local community using the hashtag #LookingUp so we can all celebrate the importance of the role we play as a community in protecting nature. At the end of the day, The Duke will share a selection of the most beautiful images from across the world on @SussexRoyal Instagram stories. The Duke’s passion for trees and forests as nature’s simple solution to the environmental issues we face, has been inspired by the years of work he has been doing on behalf of his grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Queens Commonwealth Canopy.🌳🌲 • The ‘QCC’ @QueensCanopy was launched in 2015, when Commonwealth countries were invited to submit forests and national parks or plant trees to preserve in The Queen’s name. Now, almost 50 countries are taking part and have already dedicated indigenous forest for conservation, or have committed to planting millions of new trees to help combat climate change. #lookingup #forestsforthefuture #sussexroyal #treesfortomorrow Photo © The Duke of Sussex / 2nd by @africanparksnetwork
A second photo showed him lying on the ground as part of ‘Looking Up’, a social media initiative to raise awareness of the importance of trees.
It is not the Prince’s first championing of the subject of conservation. In Vogue’s September edition – edited by his wife – Prince Harry spoke about environmental issues and his love for nature. Followers will be invited to share their own pictures of trees from around the world
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 went on to hold talks with Malawi’s president Peter Mutharik.
The tour continues tomorrow.