A British soldier has died in Malawi during counter-poaching operations, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Mathew Talbot, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was on a patrol on 5 May when he was killed by an elephant.

His commanding officer, Lt Col Ed Launders, described Guardsman Talbot as “determined and big-hearted”.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said he served with “great courage and professionalism” and was carrying out “vital” counter-poaching work.

She added: “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.”

Gdsm Talbot, who was from the West Midlands, leaves behind his father Steven, his mother Michelle, his sisters Aimee and Isabel, and his girlfriend, Olivia.

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