Operation Wildlife Specialized Interdiction Unit & Project Unicorn

  • Statement of Issue: Poaching of Africa's wildlife, particularly of its vulnerable and endangered species such as elephant and rhino, is currently at crisis level
  • Underprepared, undertrained, underequipped: Park rangers and wildlife reserve security teams are neither properly trained nor equipped to combat this war on wildlife
  • Statement of Mission:  The Specialized Interdiction Unit (SIU) provides advisement, training, and equipment to combat the poaching crisis in southern Africa. 
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    Mykel Hawke

    Mykel Hawke has graciously donated his time and expertise to lead the cause as an ambassador for this initiative.   Mykel Hawke is a U.S. Army Special Forces "Green Beret" combat veteran with over 20 years of combined military, government contracting, and survival experience. Mykel also holds a Masters degree in psychology, and has earned black belts in both Aikido and Judo.  He is the creator and star of two hit shows, Man Woman Wild and One Man Army (Discovery Channel) and currently stars in a series on The Outdoor Channel, Elite Tactical Unit , with a new survival show scheduled for the Travel Channel in the fall of 2013 (stay tuned!).   He is the founder and President of SpecOps—a global media, training, and adventure tourism company. Hawke is the bestselling author of a language book and two critically acclaimed survival manuals to include Hawke's Special Forces Survival Handbook. He is also co-author of the Jake Tyler thriller series, which is based on his personal experiences.  Hawke has been featured in several films and numerous network and cable television shows in both the U.S. and U.K. For more information about Mykel Hawke please visit his website at: mykelhawke.com

  • Call to Action: Your donation, no matter how big or small, will help tremendously as we work to gather the necessary funds and supplies. Together we can make this mission a success! Will you donate today?
  • Rhino poaching increased by 43% between 2011 and 2012, representing a loss of almost 3% of the population in 2012, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) African Rhino Specialist Group. Experts predict that if poaching continues to increase at this rate, rhino populations could start to decline in less than two years’ time.
  • Only 5,055 Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) and 20,405 White Rhinoceros remain (Ceratotherium simum) in Africa.
  • In 2012, at least 745 rhinos were poached throughout Africa – the highest number in two decades – with a record 668 rhinos killed in South Africa alone. In 2013, one rhino has been lost to poaching every 6 hours since the beginning of the year – a rate that is higher than the average for 2012.
  • The number of elephants poached across Africa in 2012 is estimated as high as 30,000+, the highest in a decade, according to a report published recently by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  Read more
  • African forest elephants are being poached at accelerating rates,  with an estimated population size declined of over 60% in the last decade.  Factors for such a devastating loss include hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, & poor governance, among others.  Citation
  • Many aren't aware that poachers often hack off the horns or ivory while the individual is still alive, leaving them to suffer tremendously as they either bleed to death or survive with months of painful healing and veterinary intervention.   Calves are also victim to poaching for their sliver of horn or ivory, and in cases where they aren't targeted, they will stay by their dead mother, crying for help, and cannot survive long without intervention.   Intensive orphanage care is necessary to raise them.
  • Illegal trade in wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horn is coordinated by well-organized crime syndicates which transport the horns primarily to Viet Nam and China, in order to fuel the demand for the use of horn as a medicinal treatment, a status symbol for the growing middle class, or a hangover cure.
  •  Numerous scientific studies have proven the horn to be nothing more than keratinized material, with the same inert properties as found in our nails or hair. There is no justifiable value to the horns once removed from these animals, making the slaughter all the more senseless.
  • Monies gained from wildlife crime fuel terrorist activities, the purchase of illegal weapons, and trafficking of drugs and humans.    Somalian terrorist group al-Shabaab, which took responsibility for the deadly Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, uses proceeds from ivory to fund its terrorist operations.

  • Park rangers and wildlife reserve security teams are neither properly trained nor equipped to combat this war on wildlife. They are conservationists, first and foremost, and help is desperately needed from the disciplines of law enforcement, military, and private security. With an estimated 1000 rangers killed in Africa protecting wildlife over the past decade, it is clearly a dangerous profession that requires true commitment to the cause, and a willingness to give one’s life in order to save another.
  • The Unit is comprised of professionals with expertise in : investigation; forensics; crime scene management; human tracking; small team operations; long range surveillance; night operations; airborne operations; K9 capability; advanced medical and tactical medic capacity; & informant handling. These skill sets are unfortunately not prevalent within the Anti-Poaching Units operating currently in reserves throughout South Africa. The operators are chosen after a professional vetting process and police background clearance, and are 100% dedicated to the mission.
  • SHF is working with a number of organizations across disciplines to maximize intelligence sharing and capacity building, including those involved in the forensics, political, and veterinary sectors of the fight against poaching.
  • In order to carry out this mission, the team is in need of tax deductible funding for operations, and we are finalizing the procurement of necessary equipment and tactical supplies.
  • Corporate sponsors will be formally recognized on this website & social media outlets.

DONATE NOW Please be sure to indicate 'SIU' during final paypal checkout, so that 100% of your donation will go towards this effort.  Thank you!

For more information on supplies needed, and/or how to donate supplies, please contact Dr. Adams at: adams@thesilentheroes.org


Interdiction Unit Operations photos courtesy of Anton Du Plessis