Following on from the launch of our Save a Life campaign, whereby Veterans for Wildlife are asking our supporters as well as members of the public to donate funds for the purchase of medical equipment, Wild Crowd facilitated a question and answer session with Paul Brodrick.

A former Royal Marine Commando, turned medic and security contractor, Paul is leading on the delivery of medical training to rangers on behalf of Veterans for Wildlife.

How did you first become interested in wildlife conservation?

As a South African, born and raised in Cape Town, the family would take regular trips into the bush - all but myself and my younger brother Glenn are from Zimbabwe, and for them the bush was home. Over the years we took a number of trips to Zim - which is where my passion for wildlife and conservation was realised, and it became more and more apparent, year after year, the death and destruction that humans cause as a result of expansion and consumption. Therefore the conservation of the natural habitat of the species that we are trying to protect is equally as important.  

Describe a typical working day?

My current 'day job' sees me away from home for long periods of time. After leaving the British military in 2009, during which time I served on operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, I found myself in the private security industry - it seemed an easy and natural transition at the time. Since 2009 I have retrained and qualified as a close protection officer and paramedic, registered in both Great Britain and the United States - in South Africa I am a registered EMT and volunteer my time to the Emergency Medical Services when I can. Currently working in the Middle-East as a Private Security Detail Paramedic I am tasked as a Team Member and Team Medic providing protection to clients conducting business in hostile and volatile areas of the region, as well as the on-site Paramedic servicing employee and client medical needs.   

What's the most frightening situation you've ever found yourself in?

I can't quite put my finger on one specific situation or incident - over the years I, and many others in the industry, find ourselves in demanding and challenging situations, which require us to draw upon our expertise, skills, and experiences. Man is far more predictable and easily read than animals, and for that reason I would have to say my time in the bush has tested me far more so than my time in the military and private security industry. Coming face to face with a wild animal is a very humbling experience.

What (wildlife related) achievement are you proudest of?

My time spent representing Veterans for Wildlife has been my most satisfying wildlife related achievement to date - and I hope to continue showing my support, not only to Veterans for Wildlife, but the main objective as a whole.  

Why is this campaign so important?

Those on the frontline are tasked with the near impossible and are unfortunately under-funded and under-resourced and this Christmas medical appeal campaign will empower them - the rangers on the ground tasked with the immediate responsibility to protect our wildlife from those intent on slaughtering them - with the up-to-date personal medical kits, knowledge, and life-saving skills they desperately need to be fully effective. 

What needs to happen to stop poaching of rhinos and other endangered animals?

Education of the communities living within and on the borders of the reserves first and foremost. Secondly, empowering the rangers tasked to protect our wildlife with the skill, knowledge, and equipment needed to do their jobs effectively. And equally as important, for the South African government to fully acknowledge the crisis that is plaguing our country. Handing out harsher sentences, providing more resources and money, and stamping out corruption within the agencies responsible to combating the issue. 

What's your favourite animal and why?

I don't have any one favourite animal as such - they are equally unique and important in their own special ways.

To find out more about Paul and his campaign to bring life-saving equipment and training to the dedicated anti-poaching rangers on duty this Christmas, or indeed to make a donation yourself, please visit Paul's Wild Crowd page.