It has been a real privilege to have worked with Veterans for Wildlife and everyone at the Nambiti Game Reserve over the last ten days; providing the dedicated and highly professional in-house anti-poaching unit with essential tactical training and support.

I can say with first-hand experience that the issue of poaching in Africa is a complex one and must be addressed by local states as well as the international community with an aggressive approach. Much in the same way as the perceived ‘War On Terror’. At the current rate, it’s estimated that rhino could be extinct as a species within five years, with the elephant not so far behind. Therefore we must make changes now to ensure that these beautiful and iconic creatures are protected.

Veterans for Wildlife allows former military personnel to donate their time and skills to anti-poaching, community upliftment, fundraising, awareness, and research projects across Africa. Empowering them to make a worthwhile and lasting difference, whilst also giving them a meaningful and unforgettable experience.

During my time at Nambiti Game Reserve, I have had the honour of working alongside Mark Jackson and Mike Thomson of Veterans for Wildlife, as well as Steve Freese and Brett Deetlsfs of Nambiti Game Reserve and their anti-poaching rangers. I have seen how donations from companies such as Protection Vessels International Ltd. can provide the much-needed kit and equipment to fight the ‘War On Poaching’ and how valuable an organised tactical training program can be to the morale and mindset of all involved. I have seen evidence of the vicious and callous attacks that the poachers carry out for nothing more than the greed and vanity of the individual end users of ivory and horn. I have heard statements of how there are highly organised, well-funded poaching gangs with access to helicopters, specialist equipment and tranquillisers, conducting swift covert night time ‘raids’ resulting in animals suffering slow agonising deaths for nothing more than dentine (the same material your own finger nails consist of).

During 2016 over 1,054 rhino were killed for their ivory. That’s a rate of 3 per day and the projection for 2017 is set to be even higher. For elephants, the current yearly loss - overwhelmingly from poaching - is estimated at 8 percent. That’s about 27,000 elephants slaughtered year on year.

I implore you all to take a stand and make a difference in any way you can, whether that be donating your time, fundraising or simply passing on this message and others like it so that we do not have the extinction of the largest land mammals on our conscience.

Thank you, Wesley Thomson, Andrew Crichton, Tony Park and everyone else at Veterans for Wildlife for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the solution and I hope that I am able to continue to be involved with the charity until the world wakes up and ends poaching for good.