Prince Harry to the Rescue! Former Pilot Flies in Helicopter to Help Save Elephants in Africa
Dressed in khaki-colored shorts, a green T-shirt and baseball cap, Harry was working as a spotter in a helicopter in a national park in Malawi last week as conservationists tried to round up as many elephants as possible to get them to sanctuary as part of the 500 Elephants program from the non-profit, African Parks.
PEOPLE has been told he is taking part in “human-assisted migration,” which involves immobilizing the animals by tranquilizing darts fired from the helicopter and transporting them onto trucks with a crane. Harry flew Apache attack helicopters during his time with the Army in Afghanistan.
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Staying in a basic camp with the team by a riverbank in the Liwonde National Park, Harry reportedly showers using a bucket and eats breakfast prepared in the field kitchen as he works alongside the conservationists.
“As you can imagine, everything is on quite a significant scale. A helicopter goes up with a vet and they identify a cohesive group of elephants, which is really important because you’ve got to keep the family groups together,” Frances Read from Africa Parks told PEOPLE. “Then they try to flush them out of the woodlands and onto the floodplains, which makes it a lot easier and safer to dart.”
It is a crucial part of the battle against the poachers that are devastating the wild animals in Southern Africa.
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Last year, the royal took part in a separate mission to help halt rhino poaching in South Africa. He is due back in he U.K. next month.