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Harry falls out to be Africa ranger

Published 19/06/2015

Prince Harry had a decade of full-time military service
Prince Harry had a decade of full-time military service

Prince Harry will live the life of an African ranger during a stint working as a wildlife conservation volunteer over the summer.

Harry officially left the armed forces today after a career spanning ten years and will fly out to southern Africa next week to begin a three-month placement helping experts with front-line conservation projects in Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Botswana.

Kensington Palace said Harry will spend some of his time working at the "sharp end of wildlife protection" joining rangers protecting animals against poachers and helping vets who try to save them after attacks.

He will be "fully embedded" with the conservationists and wardens living with them and also sharing their shift patterns and time off.

The continent is a place the Prince has a great affection for and his charity Sentebale is based in the Kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa.

Speaking at the end of his recent tour of New Zealand Harry said: "...to actually get the chance to go to Africa, embed myself with the number one top vet in southern Africa, travel with him for three weeks and every job he gets called up to do, I follow him.

''That's like my dream. It's going to be amazing, whether it's darting a lion or going into a community to see how they are changing the way they are working, and for the local culture to accept that an elephant means more to them money-wise alive than shooting it.''

In a statement Kensington Palace said : "After more than a decade of full-time military service Prince Harry has today ended his career with the Army.

"The Prince has had a fulfilling military career and considers it a huge honour to have served his country in the armed forces, during which time he has undertaken two operational tours of duty in Afghanistan, qualified as an Apache Aircraft Commander, spearheaded the Invictus Games and - most recently - undertaken an attachment with the Australian Defence Force."

Prince Harry announced in February he would be leaving the Army, and later said he considered himself ''incredibly lucky'' to have had the chance to carry out challenging roles in the military.

Kensington Palace said the Prince had worked closely with conservation experts from several organisations - including the Zoological Society of London - to design a programme that would give him an insight into the challenges and issues faced by people working on the ground to protect the wildlife and support local communities.

It said about Harry's work in Africa: "He will join a team of rangers who are the first to respond to reports of poaching attacks on elephants and rhino.

"He will for a time work alongside some of the world's leading veterinarians who act to save animals who have survived barbaric attacks, including the removal of their tusks.

"And he will also work with park managers to learn about new technologies being used to enforce site protection.

"Wherever possible, Prince Harry will be fully embedded with the conservationists and front-line staff he will be working alongside, including working the same shift patterns with limited downtime and living in the same accommodation."

Harry, who was known in the Army as Captain Wales, was away on leave for his last day in the forces but will return to hold a formal farewell meeting with his commanding officer later in the year.

In the autumn he will return to work as a volunteer with the Ministry of Defence's Personnel Recovery Unit, where he will assist soldiers with their rehabilitation after being wounded or injured in service.

The Prince is still considering what will be his next career alongside his royal duties, but he has said in an interview during his New Zealand trip he wants to earn a "wage" and have a job alongside normal people that gives "something back" to society.

He said his brother felt the same: "In the future, from our point of view, if we want to make a big contribution, or a valid contribution and be taken seriously, then we need to work alongside other people."

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