Prince Harry has shared his personal account on the plight of endangered black rhinos as he visited the Kruger National Park in South Africa on 2 December. The prince has also shared some personal photographs and videos of the animals taken during his visit to the country in the summer of 2013.
In one of the photographs, released by Kensington Palace, the 31-year-old Harry is seen tending to a female black rhino named Hope, brutally wounded by poachers in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The prince wrote on Instagram: "Some poachers use a dart gun and tranquilize the animal so as to not have to fire a shot that would be heard. They then hack their face off while the animal is paralysed before running off with the horn."
This was the second operation to try to save the endangered black rhino, he said of the photograph, adding that Hope survived and was making a speedy recovery. The prince said: "I stared into her eyes while operating on her and thought at first that it would have been better and fairer to put her down rather than put her through the pain."
Kensington Palace said the Prince Harry's photographs and videos highlighted the "urgent challenges faced by people on the ground working to protect Africa's most endangered animals".
Prince Harry's love for animals
Two other photos show the fourth in line to the throne's affection for the animals. In one, Prince Harry is seen caressing a sedated female rhino, while in another, he lovingly lays over an elephant spreading his arms to embrace the animal.
"After a very long day in Kruger National Park, with five rhinos sent to new homes and three elephants freed from their collars - like this sedated female - I decided to take a moment," he said.
The prince continued: "I know how lucky I am to have these experiences, but hearing stories from people on the ground about how bad the situation really is, upset and frustrated me. How can it be that 30,000 elephants were slaughtered last year alone? None of them had names, so do we not care? And for what? Their tusks? Seeing huge carcasses of rhinos and elephants scattered across Africa, with their horns and tusks missing is a pointless waste of beauty."
Royal brothers meet Zawadi
Prince Harry expressed his excitement over meeting Zawadi, a female black rhino that Prince William had also met. "This was the second time Zawadi, a female black rhino, met someone from my family. My brother William fed her two years ago in Kent just before she left under a translocation project to Tanzania where she now lives in a sanctuary," an overwhelmed prince said, adding that the rhino "goes nuts for carrots" and he "loved being able to send William this photo".
Prince Harry said he was "incredibly" proud of his elder brother for putting the fate of endangered species back on the global agenda. "This is a test for all humanity and we cannot afford to fail. Nature needs us to fight her battles and protect her animals," he said, according to Kensington Palace.
The visit to the national park marks the end of the prince's third official visit to the country as he departs from Johannesburg on 3 December. Prince Harry also visited a poaching crime scene where a female rhino and her two-year-old calf were killed.