Martin (far right) was born in apartheid South Africa where he had no opportunities, no rights, and no future. He grew up in a rural part of the Underberg in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Martin’s father passed away when he was young, so as the oldest of his siblings, he needed to provide for his family. Martin became a soldier. He went and enlisted-it’s one of the few things a black male could do during that time. He joined the 111th Battalion, where he fought for a country that didn’t even recognize him as a complete citizen.
When Martin came out of the military, he took his skills and started training rangers. He got involved with the people on the ground, because he truly believed that the future of Africa’s wildlife belonged to the local people. He sensed that there had to be ownership and direct benefit for the people living in close proximity to wildlife.
In 2014, Martin tragically passed away. That was the impetus for starting the Global Conservation Corps. Our mission statement is conserving wildlife through the education, development, and training of people. Poaching is not a wildlife issue-it’s a human issue. It’s a symptom of a much bigger human condition that we find ourselves in.