Drugged and tethered… what Prince Harry didn’t tell you about those awe-inspiring wildlife photos in Malawi
- Prince Harry posted a spectacular wildlife album on his official Instagram page to mark this year’s Earth Day
- But the rhino, elephant and lion shown in Harry’s photographs had in fact all been tranquilised
- The elephant had also been tethered, as a picture taken of the same scene from a different angle shows
Judging by his spectacular photographs of African wildlife, the Duke of Sussex is something of a natural behind the lens.
But while the camera never lies, Harry’s pictures of a rhino, elephant and lion don’t quite tell the full story.
Anyone glancing at them quickly could be left with the impression that capturing images of these mighty creatures at such close quarters would have required a thrilling – possibly life-endangering – pursuit across the bush.
But the reality is that all three animals had been stunned by a tranquilliser before the prince clicked the shutter.
The elephant had also been tethered – but because of the way the picture was edited, Harry’s Instagram followers were unable to see the rope around its hind legs.
This is the edited photograph of the elephant taken in Malawi that appeared to mark Earth Day on Prince Harry’s official Instagram page
This is the same photograph from another angle, which shows that the elephant had been tethered, as well as tranquilised
The Duke posted the pictures to highlight Earth Day – the annual environmental protection event – alongside a caption in which he preached about safeguarding the planet.
However, he notably avoided explaining the circumstances in which the images were taken – the tranquillised animals were in various states of comatose as they were being relocated as part of conservation projects.
The elephant picture was taken in Malawi when a herd was being moved to a ‘safe park’. Field guide Frank Weitzer was also taking pictures that day.
He said: ‘We were in a floodplain and it was towards the end of July 2016. I have a series of images – from a different perspective – depicting the elephant falling to the ground later on.’
TRANQUILLISED: The rhino snapped by Prince Harry during a trip to Botswana
This close-up image of a lion’s eye was posted in the same Sussex Royal Instagram album as the others
Prince Harry takes a photograph of Prince Seeiso (wearing novelty glasses) using a Fuji Instax camera during a photography activity at the new Mamohato Children’s Centre on October 17, 2015
Prince Harry is seen at Westminster Abbey on April 25
Map Ives, Botswana’s national rhino co-ordinator, told The Mail on Sunday that the picture of the rhino was also taken in 2016 – though he could not remember the prince taking it.
‘When a rhino is tranquillised like this there is a lot to do and I would be mighty busy with a host of tasks,’ he said.
It is unknown where Harry’s close-up image of a lion’s eye was taken but he posted it in the same Instagram album as the others. When shown the pictures, top wildlife photographer Christiaan Kotze was unimpressed.
He said: ‘He [Harry] is on the front line and has access that very few people including professional photographers would ever dream of having.
If these are really his best images he has not used the opportunity to its full extent.’
A spokesman for the Duke declined to discuss the photos, though sources denied the rope was deliberately edited out of the elephant picture, claiming instead that ‘it was due to Instagram’s format’.