Mathew Talbot: British soldier killed by elephant during anti-poaching operation in Malawi

Mathew Talbot
Mathew Talbot Copyright MOD
Copyright MOD
By Chris Harris
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“He was a determined and big-hearted who devoted his life to serving his country."


A soldier has been killed by an elephant while on an anti-poaching mission in Africa.

Mathew Talbot was serving with the British army in Malawi on May 5 when the incident happened, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The 22-year-old, from near Birmingham in the West Midlands, was on his first operational deployment.

“I will always feel honoured to have served alongside Guardsman Mathew Talbot,” said Lt Col Ed Launders, his commanding officer.

“He was a determined and big-hearted who devoted his life to serving his country. It was typical of his character to volunteer for an important and challenging role in Malawi.

“He was hugely proud to of his work as a counter-poaching operator, and tragically died doing great good.”

Talbot, serving with the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was killed in Liwonde National Park in the south part of Malawi.

Since 2017, the British Army has been helping rangers in Liwonde as part of a training programme against traffickers.

The Ministry of Defence said last year the long-term goals of training park rangers in Malawi are for them to effectively police their parks and respond appropriately to the threat of poaching, which is worth approximately £7bn to £17bn year.

Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s defence minister, 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.

“This tragic incident is a reminder of the danger our military faces as they protect some of the world’s most endangered species from those who seek to profit from the criminal slaughter of wildlife.

“Throughout his career with the Coldstream Guards, Guardsman Talbot served with great courage and professionalism, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this terrible time.”

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