Chinese volunteer organization spearheads anti-poaching efforts in Africa

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Universal Tactical Association volunteers at their training center in Beijing. 

On May 15, the Universal Tactical Association (UTA) held a farewell meeting for their Africa Anti-poaching Voluntary Action Committee at a training center in Beijing. During the meeting, the founder of the committee made a presentation introducing the program and the work that the anti-poaching group hopes to achieve while in Africa.

Comprised of six men and two women, the group of eight volunteers will perform fieldwork across the 2000 square kilometers of Zimbabwe’s National Park over the course of two months, using small surveillance aircrafts, ATVs and rafts to engage in patrolling activities throughout the park. They hope to displace and hinder potential poachers, dismantle traps that poachers have set up, rescue animals caught in traps and help to protect the flora of the park. Aside from this, the volunteer group hopes to cooperate with local Zimbabwean police by providing training and technological services.

The eight volunteers have been granted visas by the Zimbabwean authorities as well as the authority to handle weapons, as it is possible that they may come into hostile contact with poachers. Aside from the potential dangers associated with their volunteer work, the group will also have to deal with other obstacles, including living in an unfamiliar climate and environment, lower living and working standards and potential encounters with dangerous animals.