The UK’s Prince Harry has been officially appointed president of African Parks, a conservation NGO based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Founded in 2000, it manages national parks and protected areas on behalf of governments and in collaboration with local communities across Africa.
“Prince Harry will work closely with our board and Peter Fearnhead, our CEO, to advance our mission in protecting Africa’s national parks,” says chairman Robert-Jan van Ogtrop. “He’ll be able to help shine a light on the most pressing and urgent issues wildlife is facing, and most importantly, what people can do to help.”
Prince Harry, who will marry Meghan Markle in May, is known to be a great lover of Africa, and is also dedicated to his charity work. He hosts the Invictus Games annually in Canada, an international multi-sport event he created for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans.
This move to join African Parks underscores his commitment to wildlife conservation. It has 13 parks under management and the largest area under conservation for any one NGO on the African continent. Prince Harry’s first experience working alongside African Parks was in July 2016 in Malawi. He served as an integral member of a team carrying out one of the largest elephant translocations in history. Along with moving elephants to a new home, the prince assisted with translocating a rhinoceros and a host of game species, including antelope, buffalo and zebra
He also facilitated in re-collaring three lions with GPS collars to help protect them, and met with Malawi’s president, Peter Mutharika. They discussed conservation in the country, as well as the work of African Parks, which is responsible for protecting 90% of the country’s elephant population.
“We are extremely honoured to have Prince Harry officially join African Parks as our president,” says Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks. “He has had a long history supporting conservation and humanitarian efforts across Africa. He is extremely passionate, committed and knowledgeable about the issues, and is a force for conservation not just for Africa but for the world. Prince Harry shares in our vision, and together, with him in this influential role, we aim to continue to do extraordinary things for the benefit of Africa’s wildlife and the people who live in and around these wild areas.”