Self-confessed animal lover Tony Panayi’s first exposure to Africa’s wildlife was during a peacetime exercise in Botswana with the British Army.

Tony’s 30-year military career saw him rise through the ranks and serve in the Falklands, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. When he was ready to leave the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment he hunted around for some volunteer work.

Tony deployed to South Africa with Veterans for Wildlife to provide much-needed respite for the system engineers manning the Postcode Meerkat wide areas surveillance system in the Kruger National Park.

Postcode Meerkat, uses an array of radar and electro-optic sensors to detect rhino poachers moving illegally through the park.  During Tony’s time monitoring the system several incursions by poachers were disrupted, saving the lives of endangered rhinos.

“This is an extremely good cause,” Tony said of the work being done by Veterans for Wildlife.

“I just think it’s devastating that we could, in this day in age, lose certain breeds of animal such as the rhino.”