Harry Taylor – Chief Executive Officer
As the Agency’s CEO, 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
As 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
As 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
As the Agency’s Investigations and Planning Director, 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
As 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.
Nigel Cooper – Head of Training
As Head of Training, Coops is responsible for the Agency’s Training Management system and ensuring it is Systems Approach to Training compliant. This includes: conducting a training needs analysis for new projects, submitting proposals, designing bespoke training solutions, constructing training materials, directing training and carrying out quality control to ensure training is meeting the requirements of clients to the highest of industry standards.
Bio Brief: Coops served a full military career in the Royal Marines, where he achieved the rank of Warrant Officer. On completion of his RM career he served in the Royal Army of Oman (RAO) for four years as a Brigade training advisor and thereafter four years in the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates as a commissioned training officer. He has a vast amount of experience in designing and delivering diverse training solutions, which has been gained over 20 years and in positions spanning the globe for various clients. Before being head hunted to leave the Royal Marines, Coops was appointed to the prestigious position of Commando Training Wing Sergeant Major at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, where he was responsible for all commando training. Since returning from his seven years in the Middle East, Coops has been spending time working in Botswana selecting and training indigenous Special Forces alongside 22 SAS instructors. He is a tracking “train the trainer” instructor and is City and Guilds Systems Approach to Training qualified. He has a significant amount of African experience, which has been gained from delivering training solutions in areas including South Africa, Gabon, Zambia, and Botswana, and in providing operational support in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Andrew Ledger – Head of Projects
As the Agency’s Head of Projects, Andrew’s core responsibilities include: identifying, developing and shaping the concept of all projects, liaising with the senior management team and donors to generate long-term funding for all projects but particularly for the Agency’s wounded warrior scheme – Project Echo. Andrew also contributes to Agency activity by delivering service audits and ranger training.
Bio Brief: Andrew commissioned into the British Army’s Yorkshire Regiment, and was wounded by an IED while serving in Afghanistan in 2012. The blast caused extensive damage to his leg, and ended his military career. Since being wounded, Andrew has worked as an Analyst for the Ministry of Defence, and in an Operations Officer role for the National Crime Agency, before taking a four-month secondment to the BBC as a documentaries researcher and business continuity analyst. Before joining the British Army, Andrew was involved in expeditions to the South Pole. He has cycled across the United States (twice), walked from Beirut to Damascus, and summited Mount Blanc. Aside from being an APMP qualified Project Manager, Andrew speaks fluent French and has worked in the Central African Republic with a multinational team in a remote, hostile environment to enable the delivery of emergency health care for a French NGO. In between rehabilitation admissions, Andrew deployed to Swaziland in April 2016 as part of the Agency’s ranger training programme for Big Game Parks, and again in November 2016 to implement the ESPA Wounded Warrior trainer scheme pilot – Project Echo. His experience in training and coordinating projects has led him to oversee the establishment of this project as a key part of ESPA’s vision to protect and secure endangered species, by providing an opportunity for injured servicemen with the relative skill sets an entry into conservation where these skills are highly valued.
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.
Mike Smith – Chief Information Officer
As the Agency’s Chief Information Officer Mike’s role is to develop the information capacity to support field operations and back-up investigations with relevant and timely detail. As ESPA has a light footprint, he sees current developments in agile information applications to be especially useful in integrating and disseminating intelligence. Using these applications, together with advances in geospatial information systems, he will implement programmes to help ESPA use these developments to the benefit of 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 twenty 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 and other companies operating there. As Libya Security Manager after the Arab Spring, he managed a team of security operators in an exceedingly complex and constantly changing environment. He has gained extensive experience in complex frontier environments, leading mountaineering expeditions in Central Asia, and to northern Pakistan, Tibet and Nepal. Mike led or co-led sixteen expeditions in the Greater Ranges and Alaska, summiting Everest from both the North and South sides, and climbing on K2, Nanga Parbat 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 also done courses in human security and conflict resolution at the Institute of Graduate Studies 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 the 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.