A Kensington Palace spokesman declined to comment on the photo last night, on February 16. But a senior royal aide said: "It would be a great shame if the publication of this picture were to detract from the efforts being made by the three princes to curb the appalling illegal wildlife trade. Like his father and brother, Prince Harry has always been a strong supporter of the campaign to protect endangered species."
Speaking at a conference on Thursday, February 13, Prince Charles — flanked by his two sons — warned that the imminent extinction of some of the world’s most precious species would have "dire consequences for humanity."
On the photo, a smiling Prince Harry crouches over the body of one-ton water buffalo moments after he shot it dead on a hunting trip. This photograph has emerged less than a week after the young royal pledged to do all he could to save Africa’s critically endangered wildlife. And it also follows worldwide condemnation of another royal hunting trip just ten days ago when Prince William went boar shooting in Spain.
Harry, who is also known to stalk stag, is likely to face similar attention following the publication of this picture, which has not been seen before in the UK. It was taken in November 2004, when the then 20-year-old was on a gap year trip to South America shortly before he enrolled at Sandhurst military academy. The prince spent several months working on the El Remanso polo farm in Argentina. During the trip, he and his then girlfriend Chelsy Davy joined an expedition to hunt big game, staying at a private lodge in the province of Entre Rios.
The ranch was owned by Count Claudio Zichy-Thyssen, one of the country’s most powerful landowners with more than 170,000 acres stocked with game. A firm called CH Hunting organised the shooting party. The company offers huntsmen the chance to bag red stag, wild deer, puma, antelope, boar and birds such as doves and pigeon. But the water buffalo, which can turn deadly if wounded, is the ‘trophy kill’ for any Argentinian hunter.
At the time, a local newspaper claimed the head of the animal in the picture, and that of a wild boar shot by Harry, were embalmed so they could be shipped back to the UK as a gift for the prince. It is not clear whether this ever took place. So now, we are asking Prince Harry to give the answers regarding the photo.