The Animal Planet television network recently broadcast a different kind of reality show. Rhino Wars, a short series about the plight of the dwindling African rhino population, sought to bring attention to the cause by sending seasoned Special Operations veterans into the African bush in pursuit of poachers.

Rhinos are being slaughtered by the hundreds every year in order to acquire their prized horn. In many Asian countries, rhino horn is believed to have magical and medicinal properties that have created a black market in its illegal acquisition and trade. A single horn can fetch as much as $300,000. Poachers from all over Africa and beyond travel to South Africa in order to satisfy the demand.

One of these seasoned operators is a man known only as Oz. An 18D Special Forces Medic, Oz’s career has taken him to various hotspots around the world on behalf of the Department of Defense and other U.S. Government Agencies. He also has completed numerous combat tours in Afghanistan. Born in the midst of a civil war in Iran, the story of Oz’s journey to the United States is a powerful one in and of itself. Fleeing Iran, his mother carried him across deserts and mountains until she was able to reunite with his father. They eventually settled in southern California.

I reached out to Oz through our mutual contacts on social media and arranged a brief interview. The following is the Q and A from that interview.