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Prince Harry has declared the issue of animal poaching to be a "test for all of humanity" and one that demands urgent attention.
During a visit to South Africa's iconic Kruger National Park, the 31-year-old was shown the sight of a recently slaughtered female rhino and her calf.
The rhino was killed for her horn, which is said to be worth up to £65,000 per kilogram in parts of Asia.
"This is a test for all humanity and we cannot afford to fail," Harry said during a meeting with ranger staff.
"Nature needs us to fight her battles and protect her animals.
"There is no pretending that this will be easy. But when we win this battle, the victory will belong to those of you on the frontline."
According to those travelling with the Prince, he was visibly moved by the experience.
South Africa is home to about 80% of the world's rhino population, but more than 1,200 of the animals were killed by poachers last year.
During the first eight months of this year, about 750 rhinos were slaughtered.
One of Harry's guides during the visit was Major General Johan Jooste, who is in charge of Kruger's anti-poaching team.
"For us South Africans, this is serious - an animal of prehistoric origins that is being slaughtered in numbers and dramatically more so because we saved the rhino," Mr Jooste said.
"Remember in 1960 there were no rhino in the park and, through the efforts of visionaries and brave people, they resettled 150 and that grew to thousands.
"This is Armageddon or not for the rhino."
He said one option to help stop poachers is for a "good fence" to secure the perimeter of the national park.