Prince Harry opens up about how fatherhood has made him more determined to protect 'wild places'

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent
Prince Harry with Map Ives of the Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB). (PA Images/RCB)

Prince Harry has talked about how becoming a father has made him more determined in conservation efforts to preserve wildlife for generations to come.

Harry, 35, has shared his love for “wild places” in a letter in the annual report for African Parks, a charity which he is president of, as he praised the organisation for its work.

The prince, who is now living in Los Angeles with his wife Meghan and their son Archie, 13 months, said being a dad piled on the pressure he feels when it comes to conservation.

Harry said: “Since becoming a father, I feel the pressure is even greater to ensure we can give our children the future they deserve, a future that hasn’t been taken from them, and a future full of possibility and opportunity.

“I want us all to be able to tell our children that yes, we saw this coming, and with the determination and help from an extraordinary group of committed individuals, we did what was needed to restore these essential ecosystems.”

The Duke of Sussex has long been a supporter of conservation, and a frequent visitor to many African nations. He took Meghan to Botswana when the couple was first dating and they went back for her 36th birthday.

He spent the summer of 2016 working with African Parks as they relocated 500 elephants, and said that he wanted to get first hand experience of conservation.

Harry shown marking one of the young males while relocating elephants in Botswana - the spray paint disappears after a few days. (Kensington Palace/Prince Harry)

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Harry released pictures and comments about the work he had done, and last year wrote an article in The Daily Telegraph while in Malawi.

In September 2019, Harry said: “I am personally driven by the desire to help restore the balance between humans and nature. It is being in Africa that makes me fully understand and appreciate this.

“Nature teaches us the importance of a circular system, one where nothing goes to waste and everything has a role to play. If we interfere with it, rather than work with it, the system will break down.

“Conservation used to be a specialist area, driven by science. But now it is fundamental to our survival and we must overcome greed, apathy and selfishness if we are to make real progress.”

Harry wrote: "This big bull (male) elephant refused to lie down after it had been darted with tranquilliser." (Kensington Palace/Prince Harry)

Before Harry and Meghan chose to step back as senior members of the Royal Family, there was speculation they would be given a role which would see them relocate to Africa.

In the letter released on Thursday, Harry also said: “I have always been grateful for what wild places provide. Since my first trip to Africa as a young boy, I knew I would keep returning to this continent if I could, for its wildlife, for its people, and for its vast expanse.”

He spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and how it came in the midst of an “extinction crisis” urging fellow supporters to make sure the gravity of the solution don’t paralyse them.

Harry said fatherhood made his conservation work more urgent. (PA Images)

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He added: “Conservation can only be sustained when people living closest to nature are invested in its preservation.”

The letter was signed ‘Harry’ and introduced as being from ‘Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex’ as he and his wife Meghan no longer use their HRH stylings.

It comes after Meghan wrote a forward for one of her charities, Mayhew, in their annual report, where she revealed she had been sponsoring a dog kennel in the name of their son, Archie.

Archie turned one at the beginning of May and the family had to celebrate his birthday in lockdown.

They released a video of Meghan, 38, reading to him, in aid of Save the Children.