By Vicky Smith
A frustrated Prince Charles blamed excessive security for ruining his chances of seeing wild elephants in India today.
The heir to the throne was soaked by torrential rainfall as he stood by a remote watering hole in the Vazhachal Forest hoping to spot the beasts in their natural environment.
However, the shy animals were put off venturing to the spot by hundreds of local police and troops drafted in to secure the area before the VIP’s visit.
A soggy Charles moaned: “On every other occasion in my life that I’ve gone to these things it’s the same - it’s the security that ruins everything.”
The prince added: “It’s Murphy’s Law. Everybody always says, ‘the day before people saw God knows what’.”
The Prince of Wales had earlier spent two and a half hours travelling by Range Rover deep into the jungle near Kochi in the state of Kerala where scores of officers and officials were waiting.
But he spent just five minutes standing near the watering hole in the torrential rain before getting back into the vehicle wearing a drenched linen suit and suede shoes.
Charles, who turns 65 on Thursday, had hoped to see the elephants as part of his campaign to raise awareness of their plight.
He has joined forces with his son Prince William to campaign against the illegal wildlife trade.
He said: “They are going to have to do something about the illegal wildlife trade. It has become appalling. You will lose all the elephants, here and in Africa.”
Charles was joined by the Duchess of Cornwall’s brother Mark Shand, founder of the charity Elephant Family which since its launch in 2002 has been working to safeguard the endangered animals. More....