Former Royal Military Police officer Sam Meredith was part of a team operating a hi-tech monitoring system that detected armed poachers every single night during his deployment to South Africa as a volunteer for Veterans for Wildlife.

 

Sam and other Veterans for Wildlife volunteers have helped ease the load on full time experts operating the Postcode Meerkat, a ‘wide area surveillance system’, that uses an array of radar and electro-optic sensors to detect poachers moving illegally through the Kruger National Park. 

 

Part funded by the United Kingdom Postcode Lottery, from which it takes part of its name, the Meerkat’s smart technology allows it to pick up the difference between humans and animals in the wildlife-rich park.

 

Sam, 27, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, said while the rangers in Kruger were doing a fantastic job, nobody had infinite resources. 

 

“I was glad we could ease some of the pressure on them. We detected poachers every night and the rangers managed to deter all of them, keeping them away from the rhinos; I’m proud to have been a small part of that team,” Sam said.

 

Sam’s military service included a tour of duty in Afghanistan and an attachment to the Special Investigation Branch. He left the army as a Captain.

 

“I think that the value added by experienced military personnel makes it a very cost effective way to enhance wildlife conservation. Simply put, I believe that a small donation to Veterans for Wildlife can have a huge impact on the ground.”

 

Postcode Meerkat was developed by South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and is also funded by the Peace Parks Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes cross-border conservation initiatives in Africa.