Veterans For Wildlife

This year marks the 2nd year since the Onguma Anti-Poaching Unit was founded and are actively involved in conserving the wildlife within the 36 0000 ha Onguma Private Reserve.

APU rangers within the Onguma Nature Reserve

In July 2019 our Anti-Poaching Unit embarked on a symbiotic relationship with a charity known as “Veterans for Wildlife”. Having had 4 veterans over the last few months working hand in hand with our APU ground team, the amount of experience and the wealth of knowledge the veterans have brought along with them has been astonishing.

Veterans for Wildlife is an international charity established in 2016 in direct response to the dramatic increase in wildlife crime, particularly rhino and elephant poaching in Africa. The charity contributes to the prevention of wildlife crime by utilizing the skills and experience of former military service personnel from across the globe to assist and train anti-poaching teams on ground level.

As a people-centric organisation, Veterans for Wildlife has two primary objectives:

• Supporting conservation entities and rangers at the grassroots level.
• Empowering and continuing to develop former military service personnel.

To Visit their website please follow the link below.


Rangers at sunset in Onguma Private Reserve, Namibia

By facilitating critical capacity-building programmes, Veterans for Wildlife contributes to the ongoing development of wildlife crime prevention and law enforcement agencies. Moreover, these programmes offer unique opportunities to veterans, transitioning into civilian life, to continue to make a positive impact on society.

The program works as follows, every 3 months the charity would find and place an ex-military services volunteer with rank and with command experience in the military. Ideal candidates should have done at least one operational tour with combat experience. The main role of the veteran in question would be to take on the role of Anti-poaching supervisor. The veteran would then provide orders on operations, deploy the units on the ground on their daily tasks, and most importantly, he would act as a mentor to them.

The Onguma Anit-poaching unit deployed in the reserve

This creates a symbiotic relationship whereby the veterans teach the APU ground team their military skills, whilst the APU team in turn teach the veterans their extensive African bush knowledge. The idea is to create continued training where it all comes down to repetitive methods as used in military training. Training includes range work, weapon handling, field tactics, ambush and follow up tactics as well as field craft.
The following veterans has helped and trained at Onguma (names are not actual) and they have made a huge difference to the skills of our ranger teams and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their efforts.

Volunteer “Roger” – ex UK SAS (Special Air Service)
Volunteer “Greg” – Senior Corporal in Canadian army who is now a law enforcement officer in Wildlife & Fisheries Industry of Canada also helping combat pouching.
Volunteer “Tom”– Ex UK Army Officer
Volunteer “Carl” – Special Boat Service – (UK special forces).
Volunteer “Glen” – Former UK Royal Marine & UK special forces.

Looking at their credentials and experience, poachers should be careful crossing paths with our ranger teams!

To complement their combat training, the APU team has also undergone Medical training. The Medical Aid kits arrived on Onguma beginning of March 2020 and each member of the APU team was trained up to FPOSI – First Person On Scene Intermediate Level, which is one of the highest qualification a civilian can obtain without going through months of extensive courses and exams.

Due to the dangers posed by armed poachers as well as coming face to face with dangerous wildlife on a daily basis, it is crucial for our ground teams to have the medical knowledge to be able to save a life should the need ever arise.

This has all been made possible by the conservation levies that our gracious guests contribute by staying on Onguma.
For this we thank you.