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Angry Prince Harry Sees Rhinos Slaughtered for Their Horns: 'This Belongs to South Africa and It's Been Stolen'

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Prince Harry crouched down over the carcass of a female rhino slaughtered for her horn as he was shown some of the latest evidence of the continuing threat of poaching in Africa.

Harry, 31, was visibly moved as he visited a remote part of a South African national park during his tour of the country on Wednesday. With rhino horn valued greater than gold, poachers have been decimating the population.

Frustrated and angry, Harry gestured at the carcass and said, “This belongs to South Africa and it’s been stolen by other people.”

He also suggested that with the rate of deaths in what he called the “killing fields” of Krugar, there will be none of the prized animals left by the time his niece Princess Charlotte (who is 7 months old today) is 25.

Harry spent three months during the summer on a tour through four southern African countries as he worked alongside rangers and veterinarians and taking part in expeditions to de-horn rhinos in the fight against poaching.

Prince Harry has released this personal photo taken during his summer visit to southern Africa. Here Prince Harry shares his story behind the photograph… "I was working with Dr. Mark Jago and Dr. Pete Morkel in Namibia. Some countries are de-horning small populations of rhino 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. 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." You can learn more and how to help by visiting: Photograph © Prince Harry

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Later in the day, the prince spoke about his love for the continent that he first visited in 1997 with his father Prince Charles.

Since then, he has visited publicly for his charity Sentebale as well as privately, having dated Zimbabwean Chelsy Davy for several years, often going on safari breaks with her to Botswana.

Prince Harry has released this personal video taken during his summer visit to southern Africa. Here Prince Harry shares his story behind the video… "These baby rhinos are at an orphanage because their mothers were killed by poachers. I can’t say where this is for obvious reasons. But I spent an afternoon with Petronel Nieuwoubt who runs the orphanage. The youngest rhino was called Don. He was just two months old when he was found in Kruger National Park. Petronel has students and volunteers from all over the world come to look after these orphans. They pay for this experience and that money is used for milk, food, fencing and rangers for security." For more information go to: Video ©Prince Harry

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But on Wednesday, he was on official duty, speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Southern African Wildlife College, which is close to the Kruger National Park, where he had earlier seen the slain rhinos.

“My love of Africa has never been any secret – it s just been a huge part of my private life. I ve always wanted to keep it like that until I had the experience of age to give something back to a place that has given me and so many others the freedom and space we all crave,” he said. “This continent has given me thousands of happy memories since 1997 and for that I am indebted to it.”

Prince Harry has released this personal photo taken during his summer visit to southern Africa. Here Prince Harry shares his story behind the photograph… "By this point many people will have heard of ‘Hope’, a young female black rhino that 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. 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. If you want to help have a look at: Photograph ©Prince Harry

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He also praised the rangers for the hardships they face on a daily basis, adding, “I now fully understand the skill you bring to your work, the sacrifices you and your families make for you to do it, and the perseverance you demonstrate every day in the face of huge challenge.”

And he spoke about the statistics behind the graphic killing that he had witnessed earlier. Krugar, he said, had become “a major killing field. The numbers of rhinos poached in South Africa has grown by nearly 500 percent in just five years, with most of these occurring in Kruger. Already this year, 1,500 rhinos have been killed in this country.”

He added, “If current poaching rates continue there will be no wild African elephants or rhinos left by the time children born this year, like my niece, Charlotte, turn 25. If we let this happen, the impact on the long-term prosperity of this country and on the natural heritage of the planet will be enormous and irreversible.”

Harry s brother Prince William has been a leader in trying to ensure that countries like China and the U.S. get behind the clampdown on the illegal trade in animals and cut back on the demand that is fueling what Harry called “the huge incentive for desperate people to risk their lives for a payday from ruthless criminal traffickers.”

Next week in London, William, who set up the United for Wildlife consortium, is hosting a global taskforce of transportation firms, government agencies and wildlife leaders to restrict global trafficking routes. Harry announced that the consortium is to work with – and fund – the Southern African Wildlife College, “so that its graduates are equipped with the best techniques and technologies available to protect some of the world s most endangered species.”