WAN Highlights Akashinga, An All-Female Vegan Anti-Poaching Unit That’s Helping To Protect Africa’s Wildlife From Poachers
Photo From Akashinga – Nature Protected by Women / Facebook
The buzz continues to build around Akashinga, meaning “The Brave Ones,” Zimbabwe’s first all-female anti-poaching team that has garnered global support; most recently featured in mainstream media on CBS News.
The team has already arrested 80 armed poachers in the past year.
Damien Mander, a former Australian special forces sniper and the founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) was inspired to put this remarkable all women’s task force together to help combat the crisis that Africa’s wildlife is currently facing. The selection for the unit was opened purely to disadvantaged women from local communities, including unemployed single mothers, widows, orphans, victims of sexual and physical abuse, and wives of poachers in prison. This approach has helped present more loyal rangers.
WAN had the opportunity to speak with Mander, the “force” behind the powerful group.
Mander, who has trained thousands of men, often explains how he once selected 189 men and at the end of the first intense day of training, there were only three left. When it came to the female recruits, he revealed a quite different story. Out of 36 females training, only three dropped out.
Not only was the training that these women endured vigorous, they also follow a vegan diet. Mander became vegan when he felt the hypocrisy of protecting one group of animals and coming home and eating another.
Mander told WAN, “That despite the press coverage that IAPF’s Akashinga all female ranger program in Zimbabwe has received, no mainstream media has covered the fact that they are all vegan, until now. Watch this segment from CBS News yesterday morning that aired across America, and be inspired by their dedication to all animals.”
Tragically due to poaching, elephant numbers in the region have declined by 40% since 2001. The team’s goal is to completely eradicate trophy hunting and by doing so, that entails recruiting 2,000 women to help protect a network spanning 30 million acres of African wilderness and biodiversity by 2030.
Whether they are out in the field saving animals from poachers or saving them from their plate, the dedication that Mander and these woman have is truly impressive and inspiring to many.
“Thank you very much to CBS for giving these women and their amazing story a voice. Please help IAPF grow this important program. As the program expands, these women are reclaiming areas that are otherwise used for trophy hunting beautiful animals such as elephant and buffalo,” continued Mander. “It’s a very different model of conservation, but we can’t do it without your help. Please go to www.iapf.org to support”
The Brave Ones’ initiative is entirely funded by private donors. Please consider donating. Your contribution to IAPF, who will help to train, equip, and support the rangers who risk their lives every day to protect endangered species in Africa. Donate Here!