Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has led the tribute to Mathew Talbot, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, after the Ministry of Defence confirmed that he had died in Africa.
It is understood that the Guardsman was on a patrol on May 5 when he was killed by an elephant.
His commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ed Launders described the 22-year-old as ‘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,’ Lt Col Launders added.
‘He was hugely proud of his work as a counter-poaching operator, and tragically died doing great good.
‘Mathew was loved by his brothers in arms in the Coldstream Guards. We will sorely miss his humour, selflessness and unbeatable spirit.
‘My deepest condolences go to his parents, family and loved-ones. My thoughts and prayers are with them at this desperately sad time.’
Portsmouth North MP Ms Mordaunt has said Gdsm Talbot served with ‘great courage and professionalism’, and was carrying out ‘vital’ counter-poaching work.
‘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,’ she added.