After an eventful 10 days, Veterans for Wildlife’s latest project comes to a close. Our regular volunteer Paul has been in the Sabi region of the Greater Kruger National Park providing critical medical training to rangers on the frontline in the fight against poaching and wildlife crime.

Paul, a South African by birth, is a former Royal Marine Commando and now plies his trade as a Team Leader and Tier 2 Medic for the security industry in Iraq. Indicative of the calibre and dedication of Veterans for Wildlife volunteers, Paul regularly takes time out from his leave rotation to deploy to the bushveld and pass on knowledge and expertise to the rangers on the ground.

This week Paul covered basic life support in hostile environments, worked with the anti-poaching unit’s (APU) own aviation support and trained the rangers on how to employ the medical supplies donated by Veterans for Wildlife from our supporters PVI.

With the next full moon due on 04 November, this critical training couldn’t have come soon enough. Often referred to as a Poachers Moon, criminals exploit the ambient light typically afforded in the week leading up to and after the full moon in order to better navigate at night. Allowing them to stay undetected and increase their chances of finding, tracking and killing rhinos and other animals.

Accordingly, this is often the busiest time for APUs across the country and the rangers will be deployed in harms way, day-in-and-day-out. The likelihood of interdicting a team of poachers is therefore very high, as is the likelihood of such a meeting engagement resulting in a contact. Should the worst happen, the rangers need to be in a position to stabilise and treat any casualties prior to evacuating them to a proper medical facility.

The knowledge and skills passed on by Paul this week will be invaluable in this instance and Veterans for Wildlife is very proud to be playing our part in saving the lives of people and rhinos! It is absolutely critical that we all do what we can and work together, if we are to have any hope of reversing the tide in the war on poaching.