We are dedicated to ending the global illegal wildlife trade. This illicit trade in endangered species, illegal logging and fishing, is the fourth largest criminal enterprise globally following drug smuggling, human trafficking and counterfeiting. According to a joint United Nations Environment-Interpol report, the illegal trade in wildlife is 26% higher than previously estimated, worth as much as $23 billion per year.
Our primary work involves developing the capacity of those at the forefront of protecting nature, the rangers. Rangers work in dangerous and complex environments and require multiple skill sets to operate, yet they are often under resourced and inadequately trained. Veterans for Wildlife develops the capacity of anti-poaching units through training, mentoring programmes and provides long term sustainable solutions through leadership and training the trainer initiatives.
Over the past five years we have worked in South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Cameroon and Belize.
Etosha National Park
Our expansion into Namibia began in 2018 when Veterans for Wildlife were invited to work in support of and alongside anti-poaching rangers operating in the north of the country. Namibia has, in recent years, adopted a far more coordinated approach to the prevention of wildlife crime and rhino poaching in particular. The military, police, national conservation agencies and private sector actors have sought to share intelligence, pool resources and deconflict activities at ground level.
It's context that Veterans for Wildlife has launched operations in and around Etosha National Park. Our volunteers have deployed as Operations Managers in the reserves bordering and forming part of the collective security structures of the National Park itself.
The volunteers’ role is to ensure that the rangers under their guidance are operating as effectively and efficiently as possible, all the while communicating and coordinating with stakeholders across the region. Drawing upon decades of relevant experience, Veterans for Wildlife volunteers add a much-needed layer of command and control in support of our project partners.
Veterans for Wildlife is in the process of registering as a Non-Profit Organisation in Namibia and with this status will see the expansion of our role across the country.
Our aim, as always, is to provide additional capacity to and empower local authorities.
Working with ZSL to train rangers
We expanded our operations into West Africa at the beginning of 2019. Through our partnership with the Zoological Society of London, we began delivering critical capacity-building training programmes to the frontline agents of the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife in Cameroon.
Covering topics from law enforcement to tactical patrolling as well as intelligence collection and agent handling, we ensured the rangers are as well-prepared as possible for the extremely challenging role that they are required to fulfil.
We drew on volunteers from across the spectrum of uniformed veterans. It was the first time we deployed former police officers alongside our more traditional former military volunteers. This represented an exciting step in the development of the charity, as we begin to work with a brand new community of ‘veterans’, who have a considerable amount of value to add in the prevention of wildlife crime.
As this new partnership develops, Veterans for Wildlife is very excited to expand its footprint in-country and play an even more significant role in supporting ZSL and the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife develop a team of highly effective and efficient rangers.
Who we work with:
ZSL has been working for wildlife for nearly 200 years. They are a leading, global wildlife charity that operates in more than 50 countries on research, education and conservation projects.
In 1997, Peace Parks Foundation was founded by HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, Nelson Mandela and Dr Anton Rupert to help establish peace parks, or transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs), in southern Africa.
WCS was founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society and currently works to conserve more than two million square miles of wild places around the world.