Harry to honour soldier killed while working on counter-poaching operation

The Duke of Sussex will pay tribute to a British soldier killed by an elephant earlier this year while working on a counter-poaching operation.

Harry will visit Malawi’s Liwonde National Park to lay a wreath and commemorate the life of Guardsman Mathew Talbot of the Coldstream Guards, who died while on a joint anti-poaching patrol with local park rangers in May.

The duke, who is on a 10-day tour of Africa, said a major collaborative approach “across agencies, borders and continents” is needed to end the poaching of Africa’s iconic animals such as rhinos and elephants.

Mathew Talbot death
British soldier Mathew Talbot (MoD/PA)

At a reception at the official residence of Britain’s High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett, the duke said on Sunday: “It is only by working together across agencies, borders and continents that we can finally put an end to the illegal wildlife trade crime that continues to deprive local communities of some of their most valuable natural resources.”

He went on to say, at the event in the capital Lilongwe, that poaching “hampers development and undermines the rule of law” and praised the nation’s ability to track down the poachers.

The duke said: “Guardsman Mathew Talbot was unfortunately killed a few months ago in the line of duty but the relationship between the British military and the Malawian rangers remains strong.”

The soldier was working to train rangers and act as a role model for them, and as part of a team had helped to remove 229 snares which hampered the work of poachers.

Royal visit to Africa – Day Seven
The Duke of Sussex makes a speech at a reception at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Lilongwe (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

British military have been deployed across Africa helping in the fight against illegal poaching, training rangers in tracking, general infantry skills and bush craft.

Writing in a national newspaper, Harry said conservation was “fundamental to our survival” and should not be dismissed as “hippy”.

The duke also warned of “vast ecosystems” set ablaze in Africa, communities destroyed for short-term gain, and said that a “natural order” between humans and wildlife must be restored.

He added: “This may well sound hippy to some.

“But we cannot afford to have a ‘them or us’ mentality. 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.”

Later on Monday, the duke will watch an anti-poaching demonstration conducted by local rangers and UK military.

And he will end his second day in Malawi by dedicating Liwonde National Park and the adjoining Mangochi Forest to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy – a network of forest conservation initiatives involving Commonwealth countries.

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