Prince Harry the Rhino Rescuer! The Royal Kicks off His 'Dream Job' in Africa

The conservation activist arrived in Africa last week to begin three months of conservation work

Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty; DeAgostini/Getty

The black rhino has a friend in Prince Harry.

The royal, 30, arrived in Africa last week, PEOPLE understands, and is starting work in Namibia, where he is helping to combat threats to the endangered species.

After squeezing in some Mario-themed costume fun before his departure, Harry set off for his stint shadowing a top veterinarian, Zimbabwe-born Dr. Pete Morkel.

“For me, it’s three months of hard grafting, working with animals,” Harry, who wrapped his 10-year Army career on June 19, said last month during his New Zealand tour. “To actually get the chance to embed myself with the top vet in southern Africa, travel with him for three weeks and every job he gets called up to do. That’s like my dream.”

Morkel is said to be an expert at using humane techniques to safely “capture and relocate animals, often by helicopter, as well as [being known for] his anti-poaching strategies,” reported The Sun, which first revealed Morkel’s involvement. Harry will also spend time “embedded with conservationists and frontline staff” helping protect Africa’s natural heritage in South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana.

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Matt Brown, Africa conservation director of The Nature Conservancy, which supports Save the Rhino on the ground in Namibia, said in a statement, “Black rhinos are being pushed to extinction by the illegal trade in rhino horn. Across Africa, rangers are outnumbered and outgunned by poachers.

“We re grateful that Prince Harry is bringing attention to this critically endangered species, and to this organization that s very worthy of support.”

Of course, Harry’s time in the field means he’ll miss the July 5 christening of his niece, Princess Charlotte. Good thing, then, he squeezed in some uncle time before he left!

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