LIWONDE, Malawi – Britain’s Prince Harry appealed on Monday for increased global efforts to protect the environment against human “greed, apathy and selfishness” during a visit to a national park in Malawi.
Harry, whose tour of southern Africa has taken him to four countries, observed a simulation of an anti-poaching drill by Malawian rangers and British soldiers aimed at protecting endangered species such as elephants and rhinos.
“Conservation used to be a specialist area, driven by science. But now it is fundamental to our survival and we must overcome greed, apathy and selfishness if we are to make real progress,” Harry told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
“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.”
Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth, also guest-edited the National Geographic magazine’s Instagram account on Monday to encourage people worldwide to appreciate the ecological importance of trees, Buckingham Palace said.
In a campaign entitled ‘Looking Up’, the Duke of Sussex posted pictures taken by National Geographic’s photographers – including from the Liwonde National Park he is now visiting – to help raise awareness of the vital role trees play in the Earth’s eco-system.
He will share a selection of the most beautiful images of trees at the end of the day on @SussexRoyal.
Harry has launched a number of projects under the “Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy” initiative which has, among other things, involved the planting of millions of new trees in dozens of Commonwealth countries to help combat climate change.
In a speech to welcome Liwonde National Park and Mangochi Forest as members of the Canopy initiative, Harry praised the cooperation between Malawi’s rangers and the British military in improving their tracking and patrol skills.
“From tackling poachers on the ground to sentencing in the courts, this work is successfully rooting out wildlife criminals at every stage, and removing the incentive by prioritising the punishment,” he said.
Mike Polera, a Malawian park instructor, said he had learned about tracking poachers in dense forest.
“The British soldiers are experienced in jungle tracking while we are good at bush craft, and we are also exchanging skills,” Polera said.
Harry, sixth in line to the throne, paid tribute at a memorial site for a British soldier, Guardsman Mathew Talbot, who was killed in May by an elephant while taking part in counter-poaching operations.
Harry has been visiting southern Africa for two decades for holidays and conservation work.
After visiting South Africa last week with his wife Meghan and their four-month-old son Archie, he left them there and travelled alone to Botswana, Angola and Malawi.
On Tuesday, Harry will visit a health centre, pharmacy and youth reproductive health programme in Malawi. He will then rejoin Meghan and Archie in South Africa for a township visit on Wednesday near Johannesburg.
They will also meet Graca Machel, widow of South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, and President Cyril Ramaphosa before returning to London.
(Reporting by Frank Phiri, writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Gareth Jones)