Rockland-based Soldiers for Wildlife group takes anti-poaching battle to Africa

Posted: Updated:
SPARKHILL -

A Rockland-based group comprised of veterans has taken on a new battle to fight poachers in Africa.

Navy veteran John Garcia, of Sparkill, started the nonprofit group Soldiers for Wildlife two years ago after going on a safari in Africa. Garcia says once you go to Africa and see the beauty, you can't help but want to stop what is happening to the animals.

Garcia teamed up with two retired bush fighters in South Africa and Zambia to start the nonprofit, which buys land and turns it into private preserves for animals endangered by poaching.

"We're losing 100 elephants a day and 30,000 a year," says Garcia. "Rhinos, you have about 4,000 black left, and white, you've got about 18,000 left."

Over the last six months, the group has become a leader in Africa's anti-poaching efforts.

Mickey Carroll, the vice president of Soldiers for Wildlife, just returned from a trip to Africa. He says the group is working with other organizations to obtain large grants to help with merchandise sales and social media outreach.

Soldiers for Wildlife will hold its annual fundraiser beach bash at the Tallman Beach and Pool Club in Sparkill on July 20.

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