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Prince William at Royal Ascot © Max Mumby/indigo/Getty Images Prince William at Royal Ascot

Prince William has shared his condolences following the alleged murder of Anton Mzimba, the head ranger at the South African Timbavati Nature Reserve.

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the killing of Anton Mzimba who I spoke to in November," the Duke of Cambridge wrote on Twitter. He and Mzimba met over video call in November 2021, during a visit to Microsoft's UK offices "to learn about a new device to combat ivory smugglers," per People.

According to the Helping Rhinos organization (via Twitter), Mzimba "was shot and killed outside of his home" near Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga (via The South African) on July 26, 2022, following death threats, which "highlight the daily threat facing rangers."

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Police have started an investigation and have identified three potential suspects. "We strongly condemn this barbaric act," said Mpumalanga Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, adding that they are "adamant that it is just a matter of time before we arrest the perpetrators and put them behind bars."

Prince William Wants Justice For Anton Mzimba

Anton Mzimba smiling © Helping Rhinos/Twitter Anton Mzimba smiling

On Twitter, Prince William described Anton Mzimba as "committed and brave" and added how "rangers like Anton are central to the conservation of Africa's fantastic wildlife." Like the Mpumalanga Police Department, William agrees that "those responsible must swiftly be brought to justice."

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When the Duke of Cambridge and Mzimba met virtually, they discussed ivory smuggling in South Africa. "This is a very well-organized crime," Mzimba reportedly told William (via Yahoo! News). "It involves local people. But, down the line, it goes across the border of the country."

As People notes, William has been involved in numerous wildlife conservation charities, including Tusk. He became a royal patron of the nonprofit in 2005 and has since "been a powerful advocate" for its work "to support conservation, education, and community development across Africa," per Tusk's website.

Anton Mzimba's Legacy Lives On At The Timbavati Nature Reserve

White rhino on Timbavati Nature Reserve © FeverTreeMedia/Shutterstock White rhino on Timbavati Nature Reserve

​​The Timbavati Nature Reserve, of which Anton Mzimba was the head ranger, is an important piece of land in South Africa. The reserve was founded in the early 1950s to preserve "the natural integrity of the area" and protect "sustainable populations of many endangered species" and rare animals, per its website. This includes rhinoceros, birds, pangolins, and more.

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In a post dedicated to Mzimba, its "fallen wildlife warrior," the Timbavati Nature Reserve wrote: "The Timbavati ... has not only lost a great man, but we have lost a special family member." Having "dedicated his life to what he believed in," Mzimba was instrumental in "uplifting and inspiring the people who knew needed his support," the organization wrote.

Having become head of ranger services for the reserve in 2008, Mzimba used his role to motivate "the youth to become future rangers" and inspire them to protect the South African landscape and its animals, per the statement.

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