UK soldier on anti-poaching mission killed by elephant

London (AFP) –


A British soldier serving in Malawi as part of an anti-poaching operation has been killed by an elephant, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.

Mathew Talbot was on patrol in Liwonde National Park on Sunday when the incident happened, a spokesman told AFP.

"He was killed by an elephant," the spokesman said, explaining that Talbot died later of his injuries.

"This tragic incident is a reminder of the danger our military faces as they protect some of the world's most endangered species," Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said in a statement.

The presence of well-equipped British forces in the 530-square-kilometre (250 square mile) Liwonde park has been reassuring for rangers who routinely confront gangs of poachers armed with Kalashnikovs.

Prince Harry, who visited the park in 2016, is the public face of the anti-poaching project that began that year.

Talbot's commanding officer Ed Launders said he was "determined and big-hearted" and had volunteered for the mission to Malawi.

"He was hugely proud of his work as a counter-poaching operator and tragically died doing great good," Launders said.

Talbot enlisted in 2013 and last year attended a multi-national training exercise in Kenya.