Prince Harry is countering poaching in Africa one Instagram post at a time.
The British royal, fifth in line to the throne, shared several personal images and videos from his three-month summer tour in South Africa, Namibia and other African nations where he spoke out against the practice, which he and his brother, William, have frequently lambasted.
This after news earlier this week that the red-headed royal was thrown from his horse twice during a polo match in Cape Town, South Africa. Talk about changing the narrative...
Harry is back in South Africa on a royal tour that includes stops in Durban and Cape Town and the neighboring nation of Lesotho. He will also return to Kruger National Park, where the 31-year-old spent time over the summer working to save wild creatures.
The newly released images bore captions written in his own words that detailed his mission trip. One shows Harry working with local doctors in their efforts to de-horn small populations of rhinos to deter poachers from shooting them.
"It is a short-term solution and surely no substitute for professional and well-trained rangers protecting these highly sought-after animals. De-horning has to be done every two years for it to be effective and can only realistically be done with small populations in open bush," Harry said, captioning an image of himself kneeling over a de-horned rhino. "My initial task each time was to monitor the heart rate and oxygen levels and help stabilise them as quickly as possible. My responsibilities then grew to taking blood and tissue samples and the de-horning itself."
In another image, the prince hugged a sedated elephant and reflected on a long day in South Africa's Kruger National Park, where he sent home five rhinos and three elephants freed from their collars.
"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," he wrote. "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."
The 10-year army veteran, now working on his conservationist mission, also introduced followers to Zawadi, a female black rhino whom his brother fed two years ago when the animal was still in Kent, England. The rhino has since been relocated to a sanctuary in Tanzania.
"Thanks to the passion and stubbornness of Tony Fitzjohn OBE and his amazing rangers, she and many others are living it up in the bush and their numbers are growing. She goes nuts for carrots and I loved being able to send William this photo. Hats off to Tusk Trust," he wrote.
Harry also shared videos showing baby rhinos nursing and another rhino getting up off the ground.
"Trying to stop a three tonne rhino with a rope and a blindfold isn't easy! Especially in this harsh terrain in Botswana. Mapp Ives and Kai Collins, with the help of Botswana Defence Force and the government, are doing everything they can to protect their newly reintroduced rhino population. This sometimes means having to sedate them to check on how they're doing," he added.
Another somewhat graphic image, below, shows the prince helping operate on a black rhino named Hope, who was brutally wounded by poachers in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
"This was the second operation to try to save this animal's life," he said. "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. Local communities saw her stumbling through the bush and then alerted the authorities. Thanks to Dr William Fowlds and his team, Hope survived and is making a speedy recovery. 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. Afterwards I was told of another female called Thandi who was in a similar state in 2012. She now has a baby calf called Thembi. Every single rhino matters.
Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.