Marine from Tampa starts group to stop elephant slaughter - FOX 13 News

Marine from Tampa starts group to stop elephant slaughter

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TAMPA (FOX 13) - A Marine from here in Tampa is working to save endangered animals a world away, putting veterans to work in the process.

Ryan Tate is launching an organization called VETPAW, which stands for Veterans Empowered To Protect African Wildlife.

The goal: to save elephants from poachers who slaughter them for their ivory.

The killings are happening in such large numbers, it is entirely possible elephants will be extinct within the next decade.

And yes, you read that correctly -- around 35,000 elephants are killed each year, and at that rate, elephants will be extinct by 2025.

"They're pretty much done," Tate said describing the rhinoceros population in Africa. "I don't think they'll ever be sustainable in the wild again."

Tate, who served in Iraq, and his team assembled former active military members to help train African park rangers.

"We've done a great job of finding guys that are perfect for this and not just any guys off the streets that's coming out of the military," Tate said.

They will travel to Tanzania in July as part of their pilot program to scout out three different areas of the country where poaching is a problem.

Tate said, they'll use their reconnaissance, communication, medical, and tracking skills to hunt the poachers and prevent them from killing endangered species.

They'll also train locals so they can maximize the small amount of manpower over a larger area.

Friday night, Tate hosted a fundraiser for VETPAW in Tampa, which he described as a success.







Ryan, who lives in New York now, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2001 and served two tours in Iraq.

For more information about VETPAW: http://vetpaw.org/

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