This ambitious project aims to safely translocate elephant herds from Majete and Liwonde, where numbers are thriving, to help replenish stocks in NkhotakotaWildlife Reserve, which is now under the control of African Parks, and will allow elephants to live safely.
"Human populations in Southern Africa have increased annually by an average of 1.16% from 1960 to today, from 73milion to 320million," Prince Harry said, commenting on the importance of the work.
"There is no question at all that Africa’s wildlife will be increasingly susceptible to growing human populations and their requirements for land.
"Elephants simply can't roam freely like they used to, without coming into conflict with communities, or being threatened by poaching and persecution. To allow the coexistence of people and animals, fences are increasingly having to be used to separate the two, and try to keep the peace.
"Once a fence is up, you are now managing a parcel of land. Different rules have to apply whether we like it or not. Under these conditions human intervention in stabilising nature might be required by park managers.
"There has to be a balance between the numbers of animals, and the available habitat. Just how nature intended it. In this case, African Parks, in partnership with the Malawian government, have re-established a safe area for elephants to be moved back to.
"This simultaneously relieves the pressure in Liwonde, and restocks Nkhotakota so both populations of Elephants can continue to grow. If the re-balance doesn't take place, human wildlife conflict will increase and elephants will degrade their habitat. We're then back to having to consider the worst – reducing herds by culling."
The overall picture for elephants in Africa is alarming. Due to poaching, habitat loss and human wildlife conflict numbers are being decimated. The need to manage and protect those herds which are thriving has become more acute, to ensure there is hope of securing the future of Africa's elephants.
In pockets where elephant populations outgrow their surroundings they can come into conflict with local communities, or find that vegetation is unable to sustain the population. A balance between the number of animals and the available habitat is required to help relieve pressure in areas like Liwonde. By moving herds into safe parks like Nkhotakota, it is hoped that the pressure on existing habitats will be reduced, and the population of elephants will continue to grow.
Taking part in this project, Prince Harry was keen to get experience on the front line of conservation, and learn more about the issues affecting wildlife in Africa.
He wanted to release the video and photographs, to which he has written personal captions, to draw attention to this important work, and the incredible scale and ambition of the 500 elephants project.
Beneath is a gallery of images and personal captions from Prince Harry's trip earlier this summer.
"A few of us trying to 'tip and elephant'. This young male was fighting the drug and headed towards the trees, which would have made it very difficult for us to get him on the truck. All directions were taken from Kester Vickery from Conservation Solutions and Andre Uys, the vet," Prince Harry said.
"Lawrence Munro and I met in South Africa last year and have been in contact since. We got him to give a fantastic brief to the Ranger students at Kruger on their graduation. This year he is working with African Parks as their operations manager in Liwonde. He's one of the best," Prince Harry said.
"This big bull (male) elephant refused to lie down after it had been darted with tranquilliser. After about seven minutes the drug began to take effect and the elephant became semi-comatose, but it continued to shuffle for a while! They have a tendency to hone in on forests, rivers and people when in this state, this is us trying to slow him down," Prince Harry said.
"Marking one of the young males so that he is easily identifiable when the family group is released back into the bush and we can keep them together. The spray paint disappears after a few days," Prince Harry said.
Prince Harry took this photograph personally and said, "Kester Vickery from Conservation Solutions trying to get this Bull Elephant to lie down! 262 elephants were moved from Liwonde National Park and it was always the bulls (males) that needed a little extra to stop them. They are all now living happily in their new home in Nkhotakota Reserve, where there is more space for them to breed."
Find out more about African Parks on their website here.