Prince Harry shares photos to raise environmental conservation awareness on Earth Day

By Zach Harper

Prince Harry is quite the photographer! The Duke of Sussex revealed his hidden talent in a post on the Instagram account he shares with Duchess Meghan on Monday (April 22) to celebrate Earth Day.

Eight photos taken by the duke were posted to mark the day, which encourages environmental protection worldwide each year. They were introduced with a picture of the couple in front of a redwood tree in Rotorua, New Zealand, while they were on tour last year.

View this post on Instagram

Today is #earthday - an opportunity to learn about, celebrate and continue to safeguard our planet, our home. The above, Their Royal Highnesses in Rotorua, New Zealand. Of the 170 different species originally planted in the early 1900’s, only a handful of species, including these majestic Redwoods, remain today. Next, we invite you to scroll through a series of 9 photos taken by The Duke of Sussex©️DOS sharing his environmental POV including: Africa’s Unicorn, the rhino. These magnificent animals have survived ice ages and giant crocodiles, amongst other things! They have adapted to earth’s changing climate continually for over 30 million years. Yet here we are in 2019 where their biggest threat is us. A critical ecosystem, Botswana’s Okavango Delta sustains millions of people and an abundance of wildlife. Huge bush fires, predominantly started by humans, are altering the entire river system; the ash kills the fish as the flood comes in and the trees that don’t burn become next year’s kindling. Desert lions are critically endangered due partly to human wildlife conflict, habitat encroachment and climate change. 96% of mammals on our  are either livestock or humans, meaning only 4% remaining are wild animals. Orca and Humpback whale populations are recovering in Norway thanks to the protection of their fisheries. Proof that fishing sustainably can benefit us all. Roughly 3/4 of Guyana is forested, its forests are highly diverse with 1,263 known species of wildlife and 6,409 species of plants. Many countries continue to try and deforest there for the global demand for timber. We all now know the damage plastics are causing to our oceans. Micro plastics are also ending up in our food source, creating not just environmental problems for our planet but medical problems for ourselves too. When a fenced area passes its carrying capacity for elephants, they start to encroach into farmland causing havoc for communities. Here @AfricanParksNetwork relocated 500 Elephants to another park within Malawi to reduce the pressure on human wildlife conflict and create more dispersed tourism. Every one of us can make a difference, not just today but everyday #earthday

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The first of Harry’s images shows a rhinoceros in Africa. There are five species of rhinoceros in the world, two of which – the white rhino and black rhino – are native to sub-Saharan Africa. “These magnificent animals have survived ice ages and giant crocodiles, amongst other things!” the message on the couple’s Instagram post reads. “They have adapted to the earth’s changing climate continually for over 30 million years. Yet here we are in 2019 where their biggest threat is us.”

An image of a rhinoceros taken by Prince Harry. Photo: © Instagram/@sussexroyal

The next two images show feathers poking out of the water in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and trees stripped bare of foliage. The post says the delta “sustains millions of people and an abundance of wildlife.” It goes on to say the UNESCO World Heritage site, which is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, is threatened by “huge bush fires, predominantly started by humans, [which] are altering the entire river system,” killing fish.

A close-up on a lion’s eye is the next image. “Desert lions are critically endangered due partly to human wildlife conflict, habitat encroachment and climate change,” the post reads.

Lions are now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, and their numbers have declined in the wild due to habitat loss and conflicts with humans, both of which are considered to be their greatest threats. Photo: © Instagram/@sussexroyal

That picture is followed by one of orcas, and the post goes on to praise the work done in Norway to help orca and humpback whale populations recover there. In 2005, a subspecies of killer whales that can be found in British Columbia and Washington state’s waters was placed on the US Endangered Species list. Humpback whales were nearly hunted to extinction until a moratorium in 1966. That said, the giant mammals continue to suffer from issues such as becoming entangled in fishing gear, colliding with boats and noise pollution.

The prince goes on to highlight deforestation in Guyana’s rainforest, which the post says contains more than 1,200 known species of wildlife and more than 6,400 species of plants, and also draws attention to the damage plastics are causing to the world’s oceans and waters. “Micro plastics are also ending up in our food source, creating not just environmental problems for our planet but medical problems for ourselves, too,” the post states.

The World Wildlife Foundation says two major threats have caused the most impact on African elephant populations: poaching and habitat loss. Photo: © Instagram/@sussexroyal

The photos end with one of an African elephant, which is intended to raise awareness about how Malawi relocated 500 elephants to a park to “reduce the pressure on human wildlife conflict and create more dispersed tourism.” It says when elephants encroach on farmland, havoc can result in surrounding communities.

Prince William with an elephant in 2015. Photo: © Chris Jcakson/

Just last month, Harry’s brother Prince Williamwrote the foreword of a new book, The Last Elephants, which details threats the magnificent species is currently facing in Africa.

MORE: Prince William’s passionate plea about elephants for new book

The princes have no doubt inherited their concern for the Earth from their father, Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales is an outspoken environmentalist, and has been since the 1980s. In 1990, he launched an organic brand called Duchy Originals, which sells everything from food to furniture, and donates all its proceeds to his charities. Charles also co-authored Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming in 1993. He has also won awards for his environmental and conservation work, and made several speeches about climate change to international bodies such as the European Parliament and IUCN’s World Conservation Congress.

Duchess Meghan is also a champion of environmental causes. When Harry and Meghan married in 2018, they asked well-wishers and fans to donate to seven charities, including Surfers Against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation UK, which both do conservation work.

Don't miss a beat with HELLO! Canada's Daily Hits newsletter, your daily dose of royal and celebrity news, fashion, weddings and more. CLICK HERE to sign up for free!