Prince William shares emotional tribute to wildlife ranger killed in South Africa

Prince William shares emotional tribute to wildlife ranger killed in South Africa

Prince William shared an emotional and heartfelt tribute to wildlife ranger Anton Mzimba, who was killed last week in South Africa.

In a Twitter post shared by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Friday, William explained how the Helping Rhinos organisation shared that Mzimba was “shot and killed outside of his home” before going on to praise the work of wildlife rangers like Mzimba.

“Rangers like Anton are on the frontline of conservation, protecting people as well as wildlife,” he wrote. “Among many roles, they are teachers, carers and researchers, looking out for a natural world that can’t defend itself.

“This is dangerous work. More than 1,000 rangers have been killed in the last ten years, and they need our support more than ever.”

The 40-year-old went on to describe the nonprofit organisation Tusk, which has been working with “rangers and communities in more than 20 countries for over 30 years to help amplify conservation initiatives”.

“Their work has increased protection for more than 70 million hectares of land and 40 threatened species,” he said.

William then addressed how Tusk’s 2022 Wildlife Ranger Challenge—which was created to “generate further support for rangers across Africa”—was launched on the same day that he learned that “Anton was potentially assassinated in his home and his wife severely injured”.

Before signing off his message with his signature “W,” William praised Mzimba’s “commitment” to his work and acknowledged the dangers of “a ranger’s job”.

“The devastating news about Anton, who exemplified courage and commitment, illustrates the threat rangers face everyday,” he wrote. “And it reminds us of the human cost as Anton’s family mourn the loss of a husband and father. A ranger’s job is crucial, but can be dangerous as they are regularly confronted by organised crime.”

The royal first paid tribute to the ranger on Twitter on 27 July, writing: “I’m deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Anton Mzimba who I spoke to in November. Committed and brave, rangers like Anton are central to the conservation of Africa’s fantastic wildlife. Those responsible must swiftly be brought to justice. My thoughts are with his family. W”

According to Tusk’s official website, this year’s Wildlife Ranger Challenge is a “multi-million dollar fundraising initiative” that will feature a “21km half marathon on Saturday 17 September”. Tusk also noted how the challenge has raised over $13.5m, in the last two years, to “support rangers across Africa”.

Tusk is only one of the few wildlife-based charities that William works with. The Duke and the Royal Foundation founded United for Wildlife in 2014, an organisation that “aims to make it impossible for traffickers to transport, finance or profit from illegal wildlife products,” as noted on its official website.