Not something that is widely known, but British forces have been working in Africa for quite a while to help protect endangered wildlife from poachers. It is terrible to hear this news today.
British soldier killed by elephant during anti-poaching operation in Malawi
British soldier has been killed during an anti-poaching operation in Malawi, the MoD has announced.
Guardsman Mathew Talbot of The 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was killed whilst on counter poaching operations in the African country on May 5, 2019.
The Telegraph understands Gdsm Talbot was killed by an elephant and that there were no other injuries to local nationals or other British soldiers.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Guardsman Mathew Talbot, who died while carrying out vital counter-poaching work in Malawi.
British soldiers are deployed across Africa helping in the fight against illegal wildlife poaching. Animals under particular threat include elephants, rhinos and lions.
Malawi’s elephant population is estimated to have halved from 4,000 in the 1980s to 2,000 in 2015.
The deployments to Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves in the country started last May, following a successful pilot scheme in Liwonde National Park in 2017.
British troops are training rangers in tracking, general infantry skills and bushcraft, doubling the number of rangers mentored by soldiers in Malawi to 120.
Training has been funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund and was boosted by nearly £1 million of extra funding late last year.
Part of the extra funding went to the Wildlife Crimes Investigations and Intelligence Unit, an initiative that has improved intelligence gathering markedly. Last year 1000 kgs of ivory were seized and 114 arrests made, a ten-fold increase in detentions compared to 2015.