- Picture was taken in 2004 when he was on South America gap year trip
- Prince spent months working on the El Remanso polo farm in Argentina
- Harry has pledged to do all he can to save Africa’s endangered wildlife
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.
I’LL DESTROY PALACE IVORY, VOWS WILLIAM
The Duke of Cambridge, 31, is said to want to act in the hope that it will ‘send a message’ to illegal elephant poachers and encourage other heads of state to follow suit.
The priceless collection includes around 1,200 items which contain ivory – from fans and miniatures to a throne from India presented to Queen Victoria with elephant-ivory plaques.
Jane Goodall, a veteran primatologist, said she had spoken to the prince and he declared he would ‘like to see all the ivory owned by Buckingham Palace destroyed’.
The plan has been widely praised, with Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith saying: ‘It’s difficult to imagine a stronger symbol of the horrors of ivory than Buckingham Palace publicly destroying its own. Good for Prince William for pushing this.’
But art critic Brian Sewell called the move ‘pointless’, adding: ‘I can’t see the connection between saving elephants and destroying works of art made centuries ago.’
The collection comprises more than a million paintings, antiques and artefacts held in trust on behalf of the nation.
A Kensington Palace spokesman declined to comment.
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.
A Kensington Palace spokesman declined to comment on the photo last night.
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, 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’.
The heir to the throne told the meeting of international leaders in London that the ‘appalling’ illegal trade in ivory, rhino horn, tiger parts and endangered animals was ‘annihilating our threatened wildlife’.
There is no suggestion that any member of the Royal Family has ever shot an animal illegally.
In 1961, on an official visit to India with the Queen, Prince Philip, a former president of the World Wildlife Fund, shot a tiger at Ranthambhore, while a guest of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
On the same trip the royal – once a keen big game-hunter who shot stag, pheasant and grouse until recently – killed a crocodile and six urials, a type of mountain sheep.
His actions prompted widespread condemnation from British and Indian politicians. But, significantly, they were not against the law at the time.