"We were close to thousands of crocodiles and he was not scared!" Patricio Ndadzela tells PEOPLE

By Simon Perry
Updated August 26, 2016 10:20 AM
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Credit: The British Monarchy

We already know he’s a rhino rescuer and a champion of lions, but now Prince Harry is a hero to elephants, too.

The royal conservationist recently helped move 262 elephants to safety as he worked on a key mission to support populations in Africa.

“He is amazing and down to earth. He is very social but a respectable gentleman. We ate together at the camp and we camped in the same grounds – this is unique for someone of his status,” Patricio Ndadzela, country director for the nonprofit conservation body African Parks in Malawi, tells PEOPLE of the prince’s visit this earlier this month.

Harry spent time in the southern African country working with the 500 Elephants initiative, which aims to help reduce habitat pressures, ease human-wildlife conflict and boost elephant populations in places where poaching is rampant.

“He was very at home, nothing bothered him,” says Ndadzela. “We were close to a river and there were thousands of crocodiles and he was not scared!”

The former British Army captain, 31, who has regularly visited the continent both for pleasure and to support his charity for kids in Lesotho, Sentebale, sees conservation work as a key part of his public life.

The royal “is very passionate and knowledgeable about conservation,” adds Ndadzela, “from these species as well as the others that are endangered in Africa.”

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He also helped move more than 1,500 antelope and buffalo and put tagging collars on rhinos and lions.

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“He is someone who wants to help and do things to help African wildlife survive,” says Ndadzela. “He saw his work with us as a continuation of the visits he has made to South Africa, Namibia and Bostwana.”

And Harry outlined his desire to see even more support for anti-poaching efforts. “He wants to support the training and motivation for the rangers in Malawi,” says Ndadzela. “These are the people on the front line in terms of conservation, and he wants to see what he can do to support law enforcement activities, especially in wildlife conservation.”

The organization hopes that his presence will raise the profile of their work and enable them to do more for the wild animals of the continent. “We have seen him as a friend, a colleague of conservation in Africa,” says Ndadzela.