Prince Harry helps move 500 elephants 220 miles across Malawi

The team try to stop a sedated bull elephant as the drug kicked in. Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter

New photographs released by Kensington Palace show Prince Harry's involvement in an initiative to help move 500 elephants nearly 220 miles across Malawi during the summer.

The 500 Elephants programme, described as "one of the largest and most significant elephants translocations in conservation history", involves moving the giant mammals from Liwonde National Park and Majete Wildlife Reserve to Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

The 32-year-old helped with the first phase of the programme, during which 261 elephants were successfully re-homed. The second phase will take place in summer 2017.

Prince Harry marks a young male elephant. Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter

Along with the elephants, Prince Harry helped to move a male rhino, and 1,500 game animals including antelope, buffalo, and zebra.

The fifth-in-line to the throne also assisted in the re-collaring of three lions.

Prince Harry "was extremely comfortable with the animals, whether helping an anesthetized elephant to the ground and monitoring its breathing to affixing radio collars", Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks said.

Prince Harry meets Lawrence Munro, African Parks Operations Manager in Liwonde. Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter
Kester Vickery from Conservation Solutions tries to get a bull elephant to lie down. Credit: Kensington Palace/Twitter

“He played a vital role in many aspects of this giant operation which requires not only all hands on deck, but a vigilance he exudes, and a commitment to the cause he embodies," he added.

Just a century ago there were 10 million African elephants in the wild, yet recent census results show there are now fewer than 450,000.