Military veteran Matthew Harding, 29, from Great Totham drew on the skills he learned in the Royal Marines when he joined a hi-tech operation to track rhino poachers in South Africa’s Kruger National Park as a volunteer with Veterans for Wildlife.

After six years as a regular Marine and two years in the Royal Marines Reserve, including service and training exercises in the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti and Egypt, Matthew has his sights set on a new career as a fire fighter in the forests of Canada. Prior to this exciting new adventure, however, he travelled to Africa to help man and monitor an innovative Wide Area Surveillance System with a strong British connection – it’s been part funded by the Postcode Lottery.

Previous Veterans for Wildlife volunteers who have worked on the Meerket system helped foil several poaching attempts by detecting poachers before they could reach their targets. And this was no different during Matthew’s time on the ground with fellow volunteer Sam Dunwell. The pair provided much needed relief to the system engineers and Park officials, who have been manning the Postcode Meerkat day and night.

The opportunity to actively assist in the protection of endangered species such as the rhino was something I couldn't pass up. I want Africa’s rhinos to be around for future generations to enjoy seeing and learning about them like I have, so it is great that I have had the opportunity to contribute.