John Macleod’s trip to Africa

We are collaborating with Tusk so John Macleod, a wounded soldier can volunteer on their vulture conservation project in Africa – see here for how you can support him.

HighGround is a charity which specialises in helping Service Leavers and Veterans to find jobs, careers and vocational opportunities in the land-based sector – outdoor stuff for outdoor people….

John Macleod is a serving soldier who joined the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in 1997 as a main battle tank crewman. In 2010 he transferred to 32 Regiment Royal Artillery to work with UAVs.

Due to a hip injury sustained in 2009, John is being medically discharged from the Army and when Anna Baker Cresswell, founder of HighGround discovered John’s love of animals, she suggested he might like to volunteer for Tusk to get some conservation experience as part of his transition from military life back to civvy street.

Since its inception in 1990, Tusk has built a reputation for identifying and supporting an impressive range of conservation and sustainable community development initiatives right across Africa.

The charity, whose Patron is HRH The Duke of Cambridge, invests in programmes which use conservation as a tool to alleviate poverty, improve education and reduce conflict, whilst also protecting areas rich in biodiversity.

As Tusk celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015, its funding will continue to be focused on the protection of endangered species and habitats, construction of schools, implementation of water projects and improving livelihoods through the creation of nature-based enterprise.

John will be spending 3 weeks at Tusk’s Vulpro project near Pretoria in South Africa where his military skills and experience will be used to help the award winning vulture conservation project VulPro, run by Professor Kerri Wolter.

With Tusk’s support, VulPro has come to the rescue of vultures in South Africa and Namibia, transforming the image of this unloved and misunderstood group of birds through a campaign that has directly reached over 12,000 adults and schoolchildren and millions more, through talented use of media. VulPro has rescued more than 230 injured vultures, and their lobbying success has had dangerous power lines converted to ‘bird-friendly’ structures, and has had the veterinary drug diclofenac banned in South Africa because of its toxicity to vultures.

John spent his military career working with armoured vehicles in every terrain from the desert to the snow and said “This is a great opportunity for me to use the skills I learned in my time in the British Army to help endangered wildlife. I am hoping that the skills I have learned can be of benefit to Kerri and the vulture project. My hope is that I can lay the path for more wounded or injured soldiers to be part of a project like Vulpro. With the combined help of HighGround and Tusk, there is the chance to get many more servicemen involved in conservation projects both in the UK and worldwide. This fantastic opportunity will also help me get ready for my transition out of the Army and into the civilian world. I’ll be keeping a blog of my trip  so you can follow my progress.”

Dan Bucknell, Executive Director of Tusk added “We are delighted to be working with HighGround to create this opportunity for John to share his military skills and experience to benefit VulPro.”

The cost of John’s trip including flights and transfers will be £2,225.00 – you can visit John’s fundraising page on Justgiving


Tusk. Head Office, 4 Cheapside House, High Street, Gillingham, Dorset. SP8 4AA

HighGround. 95 Horseferry Road, London. SW1P 2DX