Prince Harry has been shown the gruesome sight of a recently slaughtered female rhino and her calf - killed for her horn, which said to be the most valuable animal commodity in the world "gramme by gramme".
The 31-year-old was visibly moved when he visited the scene in South Africa's Kruger National Park, where environmental crime investigations rangers were gathering evidence in the hope of eventually catching the poachers.
Harry's guides were Major General Johan Jooste, who is in charge of Kruger's anti- poaching team, and senior environmental investigator Frik Rossouw, who has been a ranger for 27 years.
Both men spent time with the Prince during his 10-day visit to Kruger over the summer, part of his three-month period working in Africa as a wildlife conservation volunteer.
Harry asked questions about the work to gather evidence but could not hold back his feelings, and at one point he gestured at the carcass and said: "This belongs to South Africa and it's been stolen by other people."
His voice trailed off as he tried to put his feelings into words: "And the body's left here, wasted, just for..."
He later said in a determined tone to the rangers: "But these people will be caught."
South Africa has 80% of the world's rhino population with just over half that number, between 8,000 and 9,000, in the Kruger Park.
Last year 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa, almost triple the 448 poached in 2011, and as of August 27 this year 749 animals had been slaughtered, with 544 of the deaths in Kruger.
Mr Jooste said the rhino was facing an "Armageddon" moment: "For us South Africans, this is serious - an animal of prehistoric origins that is being slaughtered in numbers and dramatically more so because we saved the rhino.
"Remember in 1960 there were no rhino in the park and, through the efforts of visionaries and brave people, they resettled 150 and that grew to thousands, we have eight to nine thousands.
"This is Armageddon or not for the rhino."
He claimed that "gramme by gramme" rhino horn, which is prized in south-east Asia where it is ground down and used in medicinal remedies, is the most expensive animal product in the world.
Speaking about the need for a secure perimeter at the park, he said: "You need a good fence - you cannot have the most expensive commodity on the Earth walking in the area when you have a normal gate fence around the place."