Swooping perilously low over the African savannah, Prince Harry brings the skill and courage he honed as a war-zone pilot to the battle to save elephants.
The daring Prince has been playing a key role in relocating the endangered species to a wildlife sanctuary in northern Malawi.
Our exclusive photographs show Harry, wearing khaki shorts, a dark green T-shirt and baseball cap, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat as the aircraft hovers above the vast Liwonde National Park.
High drama: Prince Harry seen here in the co-pilot position, is working as a spotter in Malawi, helping to relocate hundreds of endangered elephants to save them from poachers
He is acting as a spotter for his crew, who herd the beasts into safe shooting range for vets – carrying tranquilliser guns – aboard a second helicopter. On some missions Harry, who flew Apache attack helicopters in Afghanistan, takes the controls for landings in the rough savannah.
Each mission sees expertly trained conservationists use their tranquilliser darts to stun the mighty animals, which can weigh up to six tons. The animals are then winched by crane into crates and taken on a 450-mile road trip to the underpopulated Nkhotakota reserve further north.
Harry joined up with the conservation experts of the 500 Elephants Project three weeks ago and is expected to stay until the end of the month. The initiative is not his first major conservation expedition to Africa. Last year he spent time with soldiers fighting off rhino-poachers in Kruger National Park in South Africa, and also joined a team tracking lions in the remote Palmwag Reserve in Namibia’s north-west Kunene region.
The 31-year-old Prince has been keeping his work strictly low-key, living rough with his team in small tents on a riverbank.