Protect, Serve and Secure

today’s wildlife for the future
Our Services

Welcome to ESPA

The Endangered Species Protection Agency (Reg. Charity 1164052)

The Endangered Species Protection Agency works within International Law parameters and local enforcement procedures to conserve and protect critically endangered species. This includes but is not limited to: rhino, elephant, gorilla, orangutan and tiger. We recognize that the continued existence of these vulnerable animals is inseparably linked to the communities that share their habitat, and the need for a hearts-and-minds approach to transparent, credible conservation security and strategy. The ESPA has no political allegiances and is solely committed to the preservation of endangered species.

Our motto is: Protect, serve and secure today’s wildlife for the future.

  • “The Wildlife of today is not ours to dispose of as we please. We have it in trust. We must account for it to those who come after

    King George V
  • “The Wildlife of today is not ours to dispose of as we please. We have it in trust. We must account for it to those who come after

    King George V

Mission Statement

“The Endangered Species Protection Agency aims to significantly reduce the trade in endangered species by disrupting the criminal enterprises through the provision of specialist bespoke services and personnel to anti-poaching operations.”

Meet the team

Harry Taylor – Managing Director

Harry_TaylorAs the Agency’s MD, Harry’s core responsibilities include: negotiating new projects, settling MOUs, providing specialist training advice, delivering advice and expertise on investigative operations and direct covert investigations for future prosecutions, and delivering training as and when required across all active projects.


Bio Brief: Harry served with the 45 Commando Royal Marines and 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment operating worldwide. He has vast experience in the commercial security world and was involved in an international anti-poaching operation in Southern Africa. He has undertaken kidnap and ransom training, private security detachment work, and instructional roles in a wide range of disciplines. He is qualified as a high alpine mountain guide (IFMGA) and continues to lead regular mountain adventures. Harry completed the first traverse of the ‘Pinnacles’ on Mount Everest’s ENE Ridge with Russell Brice in 1988, and summited Everest without supplementary oxygen in 1993. A former instructor at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) Harry has trained counter-terrorism and special operations forces. Harry is CEO of the tactical adventure company Mission X, specialising in leadership and development, film/television consulting, and extreme vacations. He has recently used his considerable expertise to bring about the best outcomes in anti-poaching projects in DR Congo and Swaziland for the Agency. Harry is also actively seeking support for the Agency from various high profile individuals and bodies in the USA.


Martin Hewitt – Publicity and Liaison Director

Martin_HewittAs the Agency’s Publicity and Liaison Director, Martin’s core responsibilities include: acting as spokesperson for the Agency, liaising with patrons and sponsors and general reporting, overseeing administration, acting as banker and creating/ implementing/overseeing an intelligence database for criminal investigation purposes, and providing resources from injured elite servicemen to assist in anti-poaching training programs.

Bio Brief: Martin served as a commissioned officer in the HM 3rd Battalion Parachute Regiment and gained operational experience in the Middle East. Martin was injured while leading his men in combat, receiving gunshot wounds to the chest and foot. These injuries paralysed his right arm and ended his military career. Martin then turned to elite sport and represented Great Britain in the Paralympic World Championships, competing in downhill ski racing. He was then asked to develop teams of injured servicemen to take on world record attempts. In 2011 he walked, unsupported, to the Geographic North Pole. In 2012, he climbed Mount Manaslu (8,163m) and Mount McKinley, and led a team on Mount Everest to 8,848m. Martin currently assists elite sport teams to develop their leadership skills, drawing from a range of experience with elite military units, sport and expedition teams. Martin is developing the Agency’s strategy for wounded ex-veterans as an ongoing project. He is extremely well connected in the veterans’ charities community, where he has considerable credibility in this sensitive area. It goes without saying, this is something very close to his heart. Martin has been actively involved in managing anti-poaching solutions in DR Congo for the Agency.

Charles (CK) Redlinger – Campaigns Director

CK_RedlingerAs the Agency’s Philanthropy and Campaigns Director, CK’s core responsibilities include: providing security and terrorism advice and surveys for sensitive projects, such as Lord’s Resistance Army elephant poaching in DRC, creating and implementing an investigation strategy to raise investigations into criminal groups operating at the consumption end of the spectrum, and seeking funding.


Bio Brief: CK is a former US Marine Corps team leader and Close Quarters Battle instructor. Later, he joined the Dekalb County Police Department (Atlanta, USA) and served as a patrol officer, a detective in the Robbery-Homicide Unit, a sniper team leader on the SWAT Team, and as commander in the Vice and Permits Unit. CK earned over 20 commendations for actions in the line of duty. He worked on a close protection detail for the regional US Ambassador in Basra and as General David Pertraeus’ Security Manager at the Multi-National Security Transition Command in Baghdad, Iraq. He was selected to assist in opening the world’s premier Counter Terrorism Training Centre (King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre) in Jordan. He developed the Business and Operations sections and ultimately held the position of Acting Deputy Director. CK was instrumental in building KASOTC’s reputation as a centre of excellence and establishing an international network of clients for this $200 million facility. CK is also co-founder of the tactical adventure company Mission X, specialising in leadership development, film and television technical advising, and extreme vacations. This year CK has undertaken setting up the Agency’s sister office in the USA (with charitable status). He has substantial connections with US Military and Police Forces.

Peter Carr – Investigations Director and Chief Operations Officer

Peter_CarrAs the Agency’s Investigations Director and Chief Operations Officer, Pete’s core responsibilities include: providing overall assistance in Agency matters, creating and implementing an investigation strategy to raise investigations into criminal groups operating at the target end of the spectrum, creating content to raise awareness on organised wildlife crime, developing press releases for multimedia outlets, and seeking UK funding.

Bio Brief: Pete is an award-winning journalist specialising in the wildlife management sector, and is an active conservation campaigner. He has operated in an infiltration/fixer capacity for various international media and other agencies, specialising in wildlife crime and trafficking. A former freelancer, he has worked on, and alongside, the international security circuit in Africa on antipoaching operations and other sensitive cross-border assignments. In an investigative capacity, he covered serious wildlife crime in mainland Europe, Africa and the Far East. Pete is currently Editor-in-Chief of the monthly journals Sporting Rifle and Modern Gamekeeping, an active columnist at various other periodicals, and a prolific book author with several published titles. A forthright spokesman, he is often featured on television, radio, and other multi-media outlets, highlighting conservation concerns and sustainable use of wildlife to preserve species and vulnerable habitat. As co-founder, Pete has put his life and soul into bringing about momentum for the Agency within the conservation sector, and providing both anti-poaching solutions and investigations into the illegal wildlife trade (IWT). He has been actively involved in the delivery of anti-poaching projects in Swaziland, and provided operational support in Zambia and DR Congo.

William Freear – Operations Director

Bill_FreearAs the Agency’s Operations Director, Bill’s core responsibilities include: providing manpower for training and operational support through Pilgrims Group, settling contracts with contractors and managing their progress, assisting in investigations by providing experts in forensic science, and seeking funding from UK sponsors.



Bio Brief: Bill is a former British military specialist electronics and communications engineer and UK Special Forces soldier with the 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment; he has a comprehensive understanding of technology, communications, counter terrorism, training for foreign governments, liaison skills, and crisis planning and response. On leaving the military, he was responsible for designing, implementing and managing security strategies and crisis response plans for IOCs, pharmaceuticals, news and print media, and a variety of international corporate sectors in a wide range of locations across Africa, the Middle East, and South America. Direct operational support in a crisis has been a feature of his company, Pilgrims Group, of which Bill is the founder and Managing Director. Pilgrims Group has won many awards for its unique and innovative training techniques. Bill has identified a number of new projects for worthy conservation causes and is bringing his unique skills to bear to ensure they get the best quality services they need and deserve.

Mike Smith LLM – Chief Information Officer

As the Agency’s CIO Mike’s role is to develop ESPA’s information capacity, to support field operations and back-up investigations. He will develop agile information applications to be especially useful in integrating and disseminating intelligence. Using these, together with advances in geospatial information systems, he will implement programmes to help ESPA benefit communities across the world to manage wildlife and track and interdict the illegal wildlife trade.

Bio Brief: Mike has worked in North Africa for over 20 years in security and management roles for major multinational oil and gas companies. As Algiers Liaison Manager for a UK major he managed the risk reporting and analysis for Algeria, working closely with the British, French and US embassies. As Libya Security Manager after the Arab Spring, he managed a team of security operators in a complex and constantly changing environment. He has extensive experience in complex frontier environments, leading mountaineering expeditions in Asia. Mike led or co-led 16 expeditions in the Greater Ranges and Alaska, summiting Everest from both the North and South sides, and climbing on K2 and other 8,000m peaks. Mike was awarded a LLM from the University of London, with a specialism in International Dispute Resolution, and a BSc from the LSE specialising in politics and international relations. He has completed courses in human security and conflict resolution at the IGS in Geneva. He has been a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, since 2000. Mike served for nine years in 10 PARA(V), a UK reserve forces unit, and was Recce Platoon Sgt for his last two years. He deployed on exercises to Germany, where he also attended the Long Range Recce Patrol School, Cyprus, the US and Nepal.

Jo Scrivener – Head of Policy, Health & Safety, and Environmental Protection

As Head of Policy and HS&EP (Health, Safety and Environmental Protection) including fire, Scriv is responsible for developing ESPA’s internal policies in line with international benchmarks for human rights, personal safety of personnel, and operational effectiveness. In addition, his role will see him overseeing and implementing bespoke medical response programmes for each remote area in which ESPA works, and carrying out range audits, and assessments for live-fire training.

Bio Brief: Scriv accrued 30 years of military experience within the Parachute Regiment having joined the Regiment straight from school as a private soldier, rising through the ranks, commissioning and reaching the rank of Major. As well as serving on numerous operational tours, he has worked as a jungle warfare instructor, tracking instructor, and arctic warfare instructor, as well as being SERE qualified. He has completed appointments as the Regimental Careers Management Officer (RCMO) overseeing two Tranches of Redundancy, Motor Transport Officer (MTO), Quartermaster (Technical), Quartermaster (Maintenance). As the Quartermaster and senior logistics manager he was responsible for the planning, co-ordination and monitoring of re-supply to 1,500 troops by road, sea and air in areas as varied as the UK, US, EU and Africa, among others. Exclusively responsible for all aspects of supply and equipment over the value of £100 million – covering food, clothing, munitions, weapons, vehicles and specialist equipment. Scriv has extensive operational and home base experience in career management, Health, Safety and Environmental Protection (HS&EP) including fire.
Scriv ensures safe working in a sector that requires extensive collaboration to achieve the end result. Measuring Safe practice against the ESPA training imperative. His extensive experience allows him to recognise hazardous training and Risk to Life activities, allowing management and controls to be put in place to make certain the risks from harm remain As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) for our consultants, our training audience and local populace.

George Scott – Head of Training

As Head of Training, George is responsible for conducting Training Needs Analyses for new clients, developing training proposals, designing bespoke training programmes to meet the needs of the client and protected area, managing training materials and directing training and quality control to the highest industry standards. George will also provide support to active project Chief Instructors.

Bio Brief: George joined the Parachute Regiment as a private soldier in 2002, and served on operational tours before becoming the training SNCO at 3PARA, during which time he identified training and capability gaps, designed the coaching strategies to address them, and delivered training to upwards of 500 personnel. He went on to serve as the SNCO Instructor at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, achieving grade 1 of 72 SNCOs, and designing and delivering all aspects of British Army Officer Training during the regular commissioning course. After a further year as Company Quarter Master Sergeant, George left the military in the rank of Warrant Officer II for the private sector, where he was recruited as operations manager for a high-value Bahraini company with oversight of all internal, investment, facilities and logistics responsibilities.
With extensive experience in training, leadership, analysis, and liaison, George combines top-level military training ability with corporate understanding, and brings those skills to ESPA on a voluntary basis to continue develop tailored training solutions to the world’s protected areas.


Jesper Roerbaek – Head of Human Rights

As the Agency’s Head of Human Rights, Jesper is responsible for promoting the universal observation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of those affected by and involved in the security of protected areas. He is actively involved in developing voluntary conservation specific principles of security and human rights to new challenges of the global scenario for translating semantically, rights into duties and responsibilities.

Bio Brief: Jesper served with the Royal Danish Guard and the Danish Engineer Regiment for 15 years, receiving education as an engineer, operational and management, logistic and a commissioned intelligence officer. During this period, he was serving in Chief of Defence Headquarters as well as in the United Nations Headquarters in New York on behalf of Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon leaving the army he received additional training in logistics and crises management. He established his own business and worked actively with nature conservation projects supporting the practical and political work participating in the process of establishing national parks in his home country as well as receiving training as a nature guide. He has held leading positions in national hunting organisations as well as advising local municipalities in nature conservation and education of children. In the past 15 years, he worked as construction engineer and managed a substantial amount of difficult construction projects in many countries.He has used his professional skills to design and develop low cost sustainable building techniques using local raw materials and rural small business concepts to support sustainable rural developments in conflict zones. Human Rights and works safety has been a natural part of his working life and he has promoted new and safe ways of ensuring good, sustainable business, respecting both human rights and workers’ safety. As advisor for ESPA he is using his experience to head working groups in areas where nature conservation results in interaction between human rights, security and the protection of endangered species.

Our Senior Investigator

As the Agency’s Senior Investigator, his core responsibilities include: Creating and implementing investigation strategies into criminal groups involved in trafficking wildlife contraband from the target end of the spectrum through to the consumptive end. Case building and ensuring all elements are in place to successfully prosecute wildlife conspiracies, the vetting, recruiting, and mentoring of investigators and law enforcement analysts. 

Bio Brief: Our investigator’s career began in the army, serving in the infantry, including a specialist attachment to the Intelligence and Security Group (Northern Ireland). On leaving, he joined the Metropolitan Police Service and completed a wide range of training that allowed him to transfer to a position as a detective. He spent 11 years as a detective constable, and during that time held roles in the flying squad, a dedicated armed surveillance team, and as a specialist investigator in the central task force, before promotion to detective sergeant. He progressed to roles in the serious and organised crime command investigating firearms use and supply, and then to a post within the counter-terrorism command, communications exploitation group. He has experience in operating globally to track criminal supply routes; mentoring and training specialist teams; and managing and presenting evidence for trial at crown court. Work undertaken over his police detective career has covered the gathering and dissemination of intelligence relating to extremist and high-risk criminal networks, and more recently this has involved tracking illegal activity on the dark web and the associated use of virtual currencies. He joined ESPA as Senior Investigator to create, implement and manage investigation strategies into the trafficking of wildlife contraband and illegal poaching. ESPA aims to challenge the illegal wildlife trade on all fronts, and his skills and experience are vital in ensuring anti-poaching efforts on the ground are well supported by reliable information and case-building capabilities.


Sir David Veness, CBE, QPM

Sir_David_VennessSir David Christopher Veness, CBE, QPM is a British former senior police officer and United Nations official. David joined the Metropolitan Police Cadet Corps in 1964 and the Metropolitan Police in 1966. He became a CID officer in 1969, and trained as a hostage negotiator a decade later.  He became an instructor and then Director of the Scotland Yard Negotiators Course between 1980 and 1987 before being appointed a Police Commander serving with Royalty and Diplomatic Protection until 1990.
He served as Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations in the Metropolitan Police from 1994–2005 (heading Special Branch), before retiring from the force to serve as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security until 2008.
After an outstanding police career that saw consistent promotion and recognition – QPM, 1994, CBE, 2000, David received a Knighthood on his retirement from the Police Service.

Dr Peter Morkel

Dr_Pete_MorkelDr. Pete Morkel is a native of Zimbabwe and is a graduate of the University of Pretoria where he received his Bachelor of Veterinary Science. Pete has been working full time as a wildlife doctor ever since.
His first real job in the field of wild animal medicine was as head of the Namibian Game Capture Unit based in Windhoek followed by 2 years working as the veterinarian in Etosha National Park. Pete then moved onto become the General Manager for Game Capture and Veterinary Services for the South African National Parks Board, a position that gave him extensive exposure to wildlife health and conservation issues in southern Africa. As the Rhino Coordinator for the Frankfurt Zoological Society Pete managed the Ngorongoro Crater Rhino Project for 6 years. Pete is the Chief Veterinary Officer of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group. His latest work allows Pete the flexibility to travel to participate in many diverse conservation projects ranging from rare rhino relocations to rescue of the Giant Sable.

Michael Laurie CBE

Michael Laurie CBE trained at the British Military Academy, Sandhurst, prior to being commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1969. He served as a Military Engineer in the Gulf, Germany and Belize, and in Northern Ireland as an infantry officer. He later transferred to the Intelligence Corps, and served in Germany and Northern Ireland.
Michael was promoted to Brigadier and appointed as Director of the Intelligence Corps in 1994, making him head of the British Army’s professional intelligence operations. He was appointed a CBE in 1998, and became the Director of Joint Warfare on the operations staff in the MOD. He was promoted to Major General in 2001, and appointed to the post of Director General of Intelligence.
After a varied military career Michael retired from the army in 2003 and became Chief Executive of Crimestoppers. Since 2013 he has led the team conducting the Veterans Transition Review, advised on the MOD’s Cyprus review, is a NED on two company boards and runs his own intelligence consultancy.

Dr John Hanks

Dr_John_HanksJohn Hanks is a zoologist by training with his first degree in Natural Sciences from Magdalene College, Cambridge, followed by a PhD on the reproductive physiology, growth, and population dynamics of the African elephant in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. He has over 45 years of experience in a wide variety of applied conservation management and research projects, working in several African countries, including Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
John’s most important postings have been: Chief Professional Officer for the Natal Parks Board; Professor and Head of the Department of Biological Sciences, then the first Director of the Institute of Natural Resources at the University of Natal; the Director of the Africa Program for WWF International (based in Gland, Switzerland); the Chief Executive of WWF-South Africa; the first Executive Director of the Peace Parks Foundation.
He has published over 150 scientific papers and a number of books. More recently he has worked on a variety of management plans for protected areas which have highlighted the vital importance of ecosystem services in regional and national economies, and has been giving priority to environmental education, concentrating on the identification and nurturing of the conservation champions of the future through his role of Chairman of the Lapalala Wilderness School and as a Senior Fellow of GreenMatter.

Simon Hart MP

Simon_HartSimon was elected the Conservative Member of Parliament for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire in May 2010 and re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority. He has served as member of the Constitutional Reform Select Committee, the Welsh Affairs Select Committee and currently the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, as well as the backbench Environment committee and several All Party Parliamentary Groups. He is also one of the twelve executives of the 1922 Committee.
Prior to being elected in 2010 Simon was Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Europe’s largest rural affairs lobby group, for seven years. His long-standing interest in learning outside the classroom has been reflected in his chairmanship of a charitable group that works with Government on this subject and his appointment as an educational consultant to the Countryside Alliance.
He also previously worked as a chartered surveyor in Carmarthen and Haverfordwest and served with the Territorial Army for seven years.
He is 52 and lives in Llanmill near Narberth with his wife and two children.

Don Randall MBE

Don_RandallDon Randall MBE served with the City of London Police for 25 years, specialising at senior management level in Fraud and Counter Terrorism.
He was the International Managing Director for JPMorgan Chase for 14 years following which he was appointed Head of Security at the Bank of England and in the autumn of 2013 was appointed as the first Chief Information Security Officer. Don is a highly internationally acknowledged security expert and was awarded the MBE in 2007 for his partnership engagements between the public and private sector security worlds.
Don will provide strategic and operational support to the in-country teams.


Pilgrims Group Ltd (PGL)


PGL provides unlimited support to ESPA at cost. PGL has operated in every conflict, war and natural disaster over the past two decades. The company has developed a reputation of excellence and provision of the highest quality people and services. Its credentials include a 100% safety record over 18 years of operations, 13 years of back to back (26) zero non-compliance ISO9001 audits, 6 years of Security Excellence awards (15 x finalists and 3 x outright winners), Top 25 Star performer and Top 5% Security Industry Association.

PGL has been the company of choice within the Media sector with over 95% of the market due to our ability to operate successfully within difficult and sensitive environments. The company is highly regarded by the UK Government, which uses PGL for a variety of projects. It is the first and only medium size business selected to secure one of its large facilities overseas. Pilgrims has several operations centres across Africa and the Middle East and is currently developing a footprint in Asia.

Team Mission X (MX)

mission x logo
MX provides ESPA with resource support, and training facilities at cost. The MX team comprises high caliber special operations ex-soldiers affiliated with the world’s most recognised Special Forces units including the British Special Air Service, British Special Boat Service, British Parachute Regiment, U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Delta Force, U.S. Marines, New Zealand Special Air Service, Denmark Jaegerkorpset and others. Amongst other things, MX specialises in leadership development, film/television consulting and specialist bespoke training.

Leadership: Participants can expect to hone their leadership and communication skills and learn new techniques for running an effective and cohesive team under extreme pressure.

Training: Technical advice / consulting from ex police, SWAT, military and Special Operations forces which can be adapted for Anti-Poaching Units, park/reserve rangers and all other wildlife custodians, from field operatives to senior reserve management.

MX utilizes a vast network of international contacts, and the vastly experienced team draws on previous professional training, hands-on experience, and real-world missions to hone leadership skills and provide technical expertise.

Big Game Parks Swaziland (BGP)

swaziland big game parks logo

The Kingdom of Swaziland’s Big Game Parks (BGP) manages Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary & Mkhaya Game Reserve. BGP has a national conservation mandate and manages both the Game Act and Swaziland’s stance on CITES.

Formal conservation in Swaziland began on the 12th July 1964, when Ted Reilly founder of Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary opened the former family farm to the public. This caught the attention of the Swazi Monarchy, leading to his appointment as the Royal Adviser on wildlife. Since then Reilly conceived and initiated the Government parks system, pioneered the National Environmental Education Programme, saved the Nguni cattle from extinction, and eventually founded Big Game Parks Trust in the 90’s. Since its conception Big Game Parks can also be credited with re-introducing over 22 species including black and white rhino, which had gone locally extinct, and returning the national cultural symbols (the Lion and Elephant) to The Kingdom of Swaziland.

BGP celebrated 50 years of Imvelo Yakitsi [heritage], in July 2014. Mick Reilly BGP Head of Conservation and Security operates a highly effective anti-poaching unit that has received training and support from ESPA.

Kinetic Six

Kinetic Six was founded in 2012 and has a vision “to be the market-leading provider of secure communication solutions across all entered sectors, particularly endangered wildlife conservation.”  Simply put, Kinetic Six make communications and tracking work in harsh, hostile and undeveloped environments, wherever needed to enable and support a worthwhile cause.

Based in Hereford, UK, Kinetic Six provides robust and innovative secure communications and tracking solutions to the ESPA, UK Government and her Allies, wildlife conservation organisations, also humanitarian and non-governmental organisations. Kinetic Six leadership are personally committed to and involved in wildlife conservation, particularly in Kenya. With current projects delivered or in train across Africa from Mali to Somaliland, Kinetic Six uses its extensive military telecommunications experience to work closely with wildlife protection experts and conservationists.  Kinetic Six develops and improves products and systems designed to enable counter-poaching operations. All technical solutions are bespoke, from encrypted radios with long-range capabilities and surveillance solutions to tracking devices supported by a unique web-based satellite and GSM platform. We also specialise in providing reliable power solutions, utilising solar energy and power storage technology. Products are built to be the most advanced, mobile, rugged, reliable and user-friendly units on the market. We innovate and manufacture to meet specialist operational requirements and also partner with some of the world’s leading manufacturers of communications, tracking, power and imaging equipment, such as Motorola, FLIR, Wescam, Smartflower.  We run in support of  ‘Running for Rangers’ and are founders of ‘Communication for Conservation’.  We are delighted to partner ESPA.

Evidence Matters Ltd
Digital Forensics & Cell Site Analysis Expert Witnesses


Evidence Matters Ltd. is an independent company that provides forensic expertise to both prosecution and defence in criminal proceedings in the UK and internationally. In addition it provides expert witnesses in commercial disputes and employment law work. It has examined more than 4,000 computers and mobile phones, provided cell site analysis investigations; both for the prosecution and defence, in a wide variety of criminal cases including fraud, drug trafficking, terrorism, and murder.

The company is supported by a team of experts registered on the UK Register of Expert Witnesses and Sweet and Maxwell’s Directory of Expert Witnesses. These experts cover complex fraud, eDiscovery, Cell Site evidence, and digital forensics including CCTV, Satnav, mobile telephones and social media investigations.

Evidence Matters is well placed to provide support to the Endangered Species Protection Agency (ESPA) in providing expert evidence in commercial wildlife crimes. It has the proven expertise to support international cases; both sensitively advising agencies in their approach to dealing with complex technical evidence, and to provide experts in criminal proceedings at court in whatever jurisdiction they are needed.

Seven Technologies Group



Seven Technologies Group is a specialist engineering company that focuses on producing surveillance platforms for use in inhospitable climates. With over 40 years industry experience and a combined legacy of 180 years of real-world operational experience, 7TG prides itself in offering its customers the right solution for the right environment.

7TG has systems providing a broad array of surveillance applications in regions globally where the natural environment is as testing for the equipment as the role in which it is being employed. 7TG are experts in long-range electro-optics and ground sensor systems that can be used in conjunction with other technologies to detect, identify and track people and vehicles moving over wide areas in the day, night and all weather conditions.

7TG’s expertise is not only in the design and production of the hardware and software platforms but also in the training, deployment and through life support of the systems it provides. Seven Technologies Group has dedicated field support staff who travel globally to ensure that not only is the customer supported but the operation in which the equipment is employed is a success. Our customer’s success is always our top priority.

Utilising 7TG’s capabilities to support ESPA is something we are proud to do as protecting the world’s endangered species is a responsibility with which we are all charged.

Seven Technologies Group – Intelligent Security Solutions


Fieri Leadership & Development





Fieri’s founders cut their teeth in the armed forces, where principles of leadership have been forged and developed over 200 years, and the Fieri team today is made up of top performers from the military, sport and business. These are people who have led on the edge, proving themselves in the most challenging of circumstances.

The team designs bespoke training programmes developed to promote dynamic and responsible leadership, high performance teamwork, effective task management and improved communication. Delivered using experience-based learning – creating environments that will inspire and allow people to analyse their performance, Fieri believes in the functional approach to leadership. Leaders are made, not born – success does not rest with one person but on a set of group behaviours that contribute to getting things done.

Fieri’s approach is  rooted in the methods used at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, the oldest and most respected leadership institution in the UK, if not the world. Tried and tested under pressure, it works for all task-orientated organisations that invest in and believe in their people.


Lilongwe Wildlife Trust




Lilongwe Wildlife Trust was established in 2008 when its first project – Lilongwe Wildlife Centre – opened as a wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and education facility supporting the Government’s work fighting wildlife crimes such as the pet and bushmeat trades.

Since then the Trust’s rescue and education programmes have expanded nationally and in 2014 the team started work to combat serious wildlife crime, in particular ivory trafficking, supporting high level wildlife crime investigations, wildlife justice programmes for prosecutors and courts and revisions to wildlife policy and legislation. The Trust’s research arm will be an important area of growth in the coming years as they are a lead partner on Malawi’s new Wildlife Research Institute.

Malawi is known for its friendly people and beautiful places but poverty, deforestation and wildlife crime have put the nation’s wildlife under immense pressure. The ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ is also Southern Africa’s principal transit hub for the trafficking of illicit wildlife products, which threatens some of the region’s most iconic species such as elephants with extinction. Some of the world’s biggest ivory seizures have been linked back to Malawi, which is positioned centrally in a regional poaching hotspot and, up until recently, organised criminal syndicates could operate with relative impunity within the country’s borders. In response, LWT co-authored the country’s Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Review which outlined the drivers and extent of IWT in Malawi and made a series of recommendations to strengthen the criminal justice system.

LWT’s mission is to work in Malawi with local government and like-minded organisations to deliver collaborative enforcement initiatives that stop the illegal killing and trade of wildlife, focusing on trafficking over poaching.

Conservation South Luangwa







Conservation South Luangwa began when Rachel McRobb began assisting honorary wildlife police officers in support of anti-poaching patrols in the South Luangwa area in Zambia. In 2003, this effort became the South Luangwa Conservation Society, now Conservation South Luangwa (CSL), which provides a multi-faceted approach to the challenges facing the area.

South Luangwa is rich in wildlife, but has not been spared the effects of the recent poaching crisis. In addition, snaring, habitat encroachment and human-wildlife conflict are widespread in Zambia, where 60 per cent of the population lives in rural areas and are reliant on natural resources for their livelihood.

In collaboration with the Department for National Parks and Wildlife, CSL run anti-poaching patrols, de-snaring operations, a detection dog unit, and aerial surveillance, alongside human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures and veterinary services.





The poaching threat to these iconic animals remains critical. Dedicated wildlife rangers and officials around the world are fighting an endless battle against organised crime and corruption, with limited funding, training and equipment. Never before has such a number of endangered species been in such a perilous state of existence.

ESPA aims to address this balance by providing specialist training and equipment to APUs, wildlife rangers, and national parks guards wherever our expertise is needed around the world, and by deploying our specialist operators in an active or investigative role, as and when necessary, working within the parameters of international law and official local enforcement at all times.



Provision of bespoke training to anti-poaching units (APUs), wildlife rangers and park guards to enhance their capabilities in poaching prevention, reacting to hostile situations, and generally in support of the authorities in anti-poaching operations.

Basic, medial and advanced Ranger Training Courses: These programmes typically run for approximately seven to 10 days per course for already trained individuals. For the Agency to select and train from the raw material, and train to advanced Ranger status, the suggested timeframe is about 90 days. A Consultation Package would be neccessary to assess the level of training required.

The focus of these courses is to train the Rangers to a standard where they are both confident and competent at dealing with hostile situations lawfully. These courses are run by: ex-Special Forces, ex-Army and ex-Police Officers. The courses will be structured around whatever powers are conferred in law upon the Rangers, and will conform to local and international law standards.

Scenes of Crime and Evidence Gathering: A two-week course for scenes of crime officers aimed at establishing best up-to-date practices in: crime scene preservation, statement recordings, and logging and preserving evidence for further examination by experts, ensuring the continuity of evidence is uncorrupted. It will include: the identification and seizure of digital evidence (such as for cell site analysis or forensic accounting), preserving evidence for DNA comparison analysis, recovery of ballistics related evidence, and so on. The trainees will gain a general understanding in the nature of different evidence in proving criminal conspiracies and recognising where evidence is admissible, or becomes inadmissible, due to poor management. An instructor with an experienced SOCO/investigative Police background will run this course.

These examples are just some of the 15 ‘off the shelf’ courses offered by the ESPA. However courses will be customised and carefully designed to meet client requirements.


Comprehensive advice on ranger welfare, maintenance of park/reserve boundary integrity, and every aspect of security risk planning, with specific risk assessment facets, and follow up implementation of the required security solutions.

Security Risk Assessments: The Agency provides detailed threat assessments, security surveys, and assessments in order to advise on operational structure, procurement and

Auditing: The Agency has considerable expertise in providing audits for existing projects and/or bodies. There are many things that may require independent scrutiny; capability, compliance, structure and use of funding are just a few. The Agency recognises that the audit function is very much underused in the conservation sector, and will actively seek to encourage NGOs and other bodies to open their doors to such scrutiny. Some projects are in real need of an independent ‘health-check’.

Command and Control: The Agency will assist in operational matters when called upon to do so. An example of this is where a Game Park encounters a particular threat it is incapable of overcoming without significant risk to the lives of its Rangers; here the Agency can step in, assess the threat, and direct the operation to remove the threat.

Stop-Gap cover: The Agency will, if called upon, put ‘boots on the ground’ in exceptional circumstances. Manpower can be provided through Pilgrims Group in emergency situations where there is a real need for ‘outsiders’ to step in to secure and protect the animals, the people employed to protect them, or both. However, the Agency recognises the focus should be on securing the animals through the local population that live and work in their proximity.
The Agency will always try to develop a solution that engages the local community. The definitions of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and ‘emergency situations’ are a matter of common sense.

Requirements will have been identified during an initial engagement and consultancy package.


Specialist investigations and intelligence gathering using specialist equipment, with a willingness to work with local enforcement agencies, and an ability to share intelligence with International agencies such as INTERPOL and TRAFFIC.

1. The Agency will carry out investigations using all its resources including: local intelligence, evidential leads, and careful analysis of technical evidence. It will, where appropriate and safe to do so, engage with the authorities. Local authorities will be the ones to make arrests,
searches and seizures. In the event of an evidential gap, such as with technical evidence or forensic evidence, or if there is no expert facility to properly analyse that evidence, the Agency will use its sinking fund to commission the services of experts to provide expert evidence to assist in the investigation.

2. When an investigation is on-going, the Agency can advise whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction at any stage of the investigation (regardless of which jurisdiction the suspects are operating in). The Agency will engage with international entities (Interpol, CITES), and will aim to ‘offer up’ evidence to the appropriate authorities at the right time.

3. Investigative services are, by their very nature, sensitively run, and with complete security. Investigations are an applied science that involves the study of facts, used to identify, locate and prove the guilt of criminals.

A complete criminal investigation will include searching, evidence collection, interviews, preservation/forensic science, and various other methods of investigation.

ESPA can and does employ many modern scientific techniques to combat wildlife crime, and help bring perpetrators to justice.

ESPA Integrated Intelligence Operations

Since ESPA’s founding the aim has been to try and bring together all the disparate parts of very complicated puzzle – the daily operations of Rangers on the ground in complex and difficult environments, the interwoven threads of the illegal wildlife trade and the lives of people who live in and around conservation or protected areas. The activities ESPA is involved in are seen as interrelated and overlapping, rather than a neat circular sequence as often depicted in diagrams showing the intelligence cycle.

This has entailed building a detailed intelligence capacity, using people and technology across a full spectrum of conservation activities. ESPA see this as a work in progress, as new technologies enable greater visibility of links between networks, and our expanding area of operations broaden our contact base some activities, especially in the illegal wildlife trade, assume a kind or order previously only guessed at, or even hidden completely.

The outcomes ESPA seeks to achieve from continually investing in and developing this capacity is to reduce wildlife crime by exposing criminal networks, to enhance the operations of rangers in protected areas by giving them relevant and timely information, and to understand the concerns and interests of local groups and indigenous peoples who live in these critical environments.

ESPA has been able to develop world class capabilities by drawing on people with backgrounds in collection, analysis and producing strong recommendations who also have a dedicated interest in conservation. This network of talented, experienced operators has enabled ESPA to focus on key areas of conservation that have produced tangible, if discrete, results. Every ESPA operation, from training rangers in Africa to tracking criminal networks criss-crossing the Indian Ocean has grown our knowledge base and helped us provide hope that the battle for conservation of endangered species is not a forlorn one.

Endangered wildlife and the poaching threat

Many wildlife reserves around the world have efficient anti-poaching units (APUs), but many more do not. Even those that are effective face a rapidly increasing criminal threat from poachers sanctioned by organized crime cartels to decimate wildlife. More than 1,000 wildlife rangers have been killed doing their duty over the past decade. In remote areas, wildlife crime undermines the sustainable development of the indigenous population, especially in underdeveloped regions through lawlessness and intimidation. APUs in certain countries are actually unwilling to deploy and protect vulnerable wildlife due to the callous death they risk daily in the field at the hands of poachers.

The ESPA was established to help safeguard these crucial custodians of the world’s endangered wildlife, by improving their personal safety and increasing their effectiveness in the field.

  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Edmund Burke
  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Edmund Burke

Rhino and elephant

Animal contraband is big business. The current value of rhino horn on the black market is in excess of $60,000 a kilo – more than gold, platinum or conflict diamonds. It has the highest value of any illegally traded type of contraband. Rhinoceros are literally teetering on the edge of extinction as criminals progressively see rhino as a high-return but soft target. Horn smuggling is significantly less risky than trafficking conflict diamonds or hard drugs.

The illegal ivory trade has also trebled in the past two decades. Ivory is now valued at over $2,000 a kilo on Asian markets. Thousands of elephants are being illegally killed, mostly by inhumane methods with inadequate firearms, across Africa to supply the black market.

The present decade has already seen a subspecies of western black rhino become extinct in West Africa. Vietnam lost its last Javan rhino to poachers, and Mozambique lost the country’s remaining 14 rhino poached in the Limpopo National Park in 2013. All species of rhino could become extinct in the wild by 2024 if the present attrition rate isn’t reversed. Rhino deaths are close to overtaking births; when they do so, it will signify the countdown to extinction of the species.

This is already the case for certain elephant populations such as Gabon’s Minkebe National Park. More than 10,000 elephants have been killed here during the past decade, reducing the herd by more than 60% as deaths far outstrip births. It’s is a similar story for elephant populations in Chad, Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, South Sudan and other vulnerable range states.

Great ape

Bushmeat poaching is a significant threat to lowland gorilla populations. Gorillas are sought after as food (bushmeat) for the wealthy elite. Their remaining body parts are sold on to the black magic medicine trade, known as “muti” or “juju”, as magical charms or invincibility potions.

In the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, poachers kill an estimated 5% of the gorilla population each year. This has had a devastating effect on this once-increasing population. There are few protected areas within the eastern lowland gorilla’s range. Due to civil unrest in Kahuzi-Biega National Park, the eastern lowland gorilla is severely threatened by poachers. Even in the protected areas, overstretched rangers struggle to enforce porous park boundaries. Conflict and political instability continue to hamper the effective conservation of all Congo’s National Parks gorillas.

The remaining population of orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra has also been reduced by a third during the last decade by poaching and other illegal killing. Habitat loss due to both legal and illegal deforestation brings orangutans into conflict with unscrupulous palm oil planters, and opens up new areas to poachers. Hundreds of infant orangutans are taken alive each year for the illegal pet trade. This is done by shooting or trapping the mother and taking the traumatized youngster into captivity.

The survival rate of these young apes is abysmal. Five orphaned orangutans die for every one that reaches the market. Many die from injuries sustained following the fall from the forest canopy when their mother was shot. Orangutans are also poached for food; as many as 1,000 per year are killed for local consumption.

Big cats

In the past 10 years, more than 1,000 tigers have been killed to meet consumer demands in Asia for their skins and body parts. The body parts and bones (known as sets) from a single animal can fetch as much as $50,000 on the black market. Tiger bones have been used in traditional Asian medicine as a cure-all for various ailments for more than a millennium. Tiger poaching is conducted by increasingly sophisticated and well-armed criminal gangs across all tiger range states and is estimated to be worth around in excess of $20bn a year.

The illegal Asian medicine trade cannot supply an increasing demand for tiger parts; therefore it has turned to lions as a popular substitute. In the Republic of South Africa lion bones sell for around $165 a kilo, making a full skeleton worth about $6,000 for a mature lion. The bones can be legally sold from a legitimately shot cat under license, or a deceased captive cat with the relevant documentation for export. However, the legal market only contributes about half of the lion bones currently leaving the country, and poaching is responsible for the rest. Fragmented populations in other lion range states are extremely vulnerable and no reliable data is available as yet to determine the threat, but it is of major concern.

The Great White Shark

The great white shark has long been a focus for negative media attention since the release of Jaws an American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel. Unfortunately the species occasional lethal interaction with humans periodically reinforces this negativity. As a consequence of the exaggerated threat to human safety and its legendary trophy fish status, the species is actively targeted by unethical sports-fishers, and commercial drum-liner fishermen trophy hunting for jaw and fin-sets.

Targeted exploitation of great white sharks is primarily aimed at trading jaws as high value trophies or teeth as curios for the black-market, and its fins for the oriental fin trade. Illegal fishing of the species in the Mediterranean for human consumption has been reported, with the commercial catch sold illicitly as smooth hound.

In South Africa offers of US$20,000-$50,000 have been made for great white shark jaws and US$600-$800 for individual teeth. Apart from their size, great white shark products in the form of curios and fins are boosted in value because of notoriety. A fin-set from a large great white shark may be valued at over US$1,000. Unfortunately, as with rhino horns and elephant tusks, the high value of Great White Shark products encourages poaching, clandestine trade and flouting of protective laws (Compagno 2001).

Additional mortality associated with beach net-entanglement and indiscriminate drum-lining in tourist areas, are also thought to be significant factors in this species rapid decline. There is little doubt that the effects of the continued removal of these predators from the marine ecosystem will be catastrophic.

The current rate of great white shark exploitation exceeds the ability for population rejuvenation of this species.


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