The year is 2020 and rhino horn has been falsely labeled as a miracle drug, rumors dictated by poaching syndicates and black-market commerce. This has placed some of the world’s last living dinosaurs on the brink of extinction. Today there are about 5,500 black rhinos left in the world. And although poaching has decreased over the past several years, every single year, thousands of rhinos and elephants are being gruesomely slaughtered for their horns and tusks. 


Since it’s conception, 8 years ago, Vetpaw has maintained a presence on South African reserves, providing security, training and anti-poaching services to keep wildlife safe from poaching threats. But it’s not just the rhino that are suffering, local populations are barely thriving, unable to gain exposure to things that can pull them out of poverty – some unable to access or afford food. Vetpaw provides impoverished villagers with employment, training and various sustainable humanitarian efforts. 

In a nutshell, what is Vetpaw?

Vetpaw is a nonprofit organization with on-ground professionals dedicated to combating rhino and wildlife poaching in South Africa. The organization is funded by those who would also like to see an end to the poaching epidemic in South Africa – people like you.


First of all, Vetpaw team members are not gun-crazy vigilante poacher hunters. We are not out here fighting poachers by kicking down doors and killing people. We are a group of conservation-minded military veterans who put our military training to use on the frontlines of the poaching epidemic. We are a relentless team of veterans who give a damn about the planet and its inhabitants – and are doing our best to fight back in any way possible. We are driven to improve the world, putting conservation and humanitarian efforts first. 

While we may not be fighting poachers with heavy artillery and hate, we are doing as much as we can to improve the situation and reduce the numbers of African wildlife being slaughtered illegally and inhumanely. Vetpaw team members are running continuous operations in South Africa. These often involve:

  • Assisting in wildlife conservation, counter-poaching operations and anti-terrorism. 
  • Assisting with intelligence gathering, patrolling, security planning and operations. 
  • Enforcing the physical security of large properties and the endangered species contained within. 
  • Patrolling property and monitoring wildlife.
  • Troubleshooting threats and potential threat scenarios.
  • Promoting U.S. relationship-building in South Africa through sustainable community engagement and employment. 

So what does Vetpaw do? They work tirelessly to decrease the number of animals poached in South Africa while supporting the humans who also inhabit the land.

This article is being written during the COVID-19 outbreak. There are currently six team members on the ground in South Africa, running missions day and night. Team leaders hold conference calls with the executive team 3x a week. For the team on the ground, it’s business as usual. We work every single day to protect as many rhinos, elephants and other wildlife as possible. 


Vetpaw is in the process of creating a ranger training platform in South Africa that will help game reserve owners hire legit, trustworthy, skilled and honest workers on their reserves. This initiative is one that can grow to higher heights which could potentially dramatically reduce and eliminate poaching in Africa. Of course, big initiatives take a lot of funding. 

It is people just like you who donate and change the course of history, saving rhinos from extinction. Click here to donate or email shea.peaton@vetpaw.org for targeted sponsorships.