Saving the rhinos: Prince Harry named as patron of animal conservation charity

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Prince Harry is well known for his love of Africa, and conservation. Now, he is set to take his charitable work a step further, with the announcement that he is to become the royal patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB).

The 32 year old has been visiting Botswana for more than 20 years, and said he felt like it was his second home. While there, he has witnessed the plight endangered rhinos are facing from poachers. Prince Harry, who is currently in a relationship with Suits actress Meghan Markle, said becoming patron of the charity gave him an opportunity to give something back to a country he felt had given him so much. He added: “It’s about time we start celebrating and supporting the countries that are taking the lead in conservation.”

More than gold

Rhinos are hunted for their horns, but there are fears that if things continue the way they are, then the iconic species could be extinct within a decade. Rhino horn is so sought after that it is worth more than gold. Prince Harry has already worked with RCB in a previous project to fit critically endangered black rhinos in Botswana with electronic tracking devices.

The prince got stuck into work by clearing thorn bushes from around sedated rhinos so that they could be fitted with tracking devices. He also helped to monitor their breathing and heart rates, gave them oxygen and helped to keep them cool with water. It was part of conservation work to protect these majestic creatures and maintain the biodiversity which supports them.

Martin Ives, who is director of RCB, which was set up in 2014, said he was confident that the support of Prince Harry would make a huge different to rhino conservation efforts, and that he was looking forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as patron.

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