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Prince Harry shares powerful anti-poaching message and photos from rescue work

Over the summer, Prince Harry spent time in Africa working alongside conservationists to help protect some of the continent's most endangered animals.

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Prince Harry releases collection of personal photos, videos from Africa

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Prince Harry releases collection of personal photos, videos from Africa

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Now the royal is sharing his moving experiences in Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia through photos and comments posted to Instagram.

"After a very long day in Kruger National Park, with five rhinos sent to new homes and three elephants freed from their collars — like this sedated female [pictured above] — I decided to take a moment," he explained in the caption accompanying one post. "I know how lucky I am to have these experiences, but hearing stories from people on the ground about how bad the situation really is, upset and frustrated me. How can it be that 30,000 elephants were slaughtered last year alone? None of them had names, so do we not care? And for what? Their tusks? Seeing huge carcasses of rhinos and elephants scattered across Africa, with their horns and tusks missing is a pointless waste of beauty."

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And it wasn't a waste that Harry could witness without taking action.

"I was working with Dr. Mark Jago and Dr. Pete Morkel in Namibia," he wrote, explaining another image. "Some countries are de-horning small populations of rhino to deter poachers from shooting them. It is a short-term solution and surely no substitute for professional and well-trained rangers protecting these highly sought-after animals. ... My initial task each time was to monitor the heart rate and oxygen levels and help [stabilize] them as quickly as possible. My responsibilities then grew to taking blood and tissue samples and the de-horning itself."

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In a video taken during the visit, Harry can be seen feeding orphaned baby rhinos whose mothers were killed by poachers.

He even visited a rhino his brother helped during a similar visit to the region years earlier.

"I loved being able to send William this photo," Harry wrote.

However some of the images are difficult to look at, such as the photo of Hope, a young black rhino that the prince describes as having been "brutally wounded by poachers." Harry was part of the team that worked to save her during her second surgery.

"Thanks to Dr William Fowlds and his team, Hope survived and is making a speedy recovery," he said. "I stared into her eyes while operating on her and thought at first that it would have been better and fairer to put her down rather than put her through the pain. Afterwards I was told of another female called Thandi who was in a similar state in 2012. She now has a baby calf called Thembi."

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Harry also shared a photo of Thandi and Thembi, and gave credit where it's due — to those who do the dangerous conservation work every day.

"When we win this battle and reverse the rise in poaching, the victory will belong first and foremost to those on the frontiers," he said.

Harry is back in South Africa this week promoting this important work.

Follow Ree Hines on Twitter.

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