Our guest today is Damien Mander, an anti-poaching activist and founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), a direct action law enforcement organization bringing military solutions to conservation. As a former Australian Royal Navy Clearance Diver and Special Operations military sniper, Damien advocated the use of military equipment and tactics for the purpose of protecting animals from poaching.
After learning about poaching in Southern Africa and the criminal networks that used military equipment to poach for profit, Damien was convinced that his specialized military skills, personal finances, and experience could contribute significantly to wildlife protection and conservation. Using his life savings, Damien founded the IAPF in 2009 and founded the Akashinga or “The Brave Ones,” an all female anti-poaching unit.
We speak with Damien about his work at IAPF and how the Akashinga program offers an alternative approach to the militarized paradigm of “fortress conservation” which defends colonial boundaries between nature and humans. Damien believes that empowering women can be the single biggest force for positive change in the world today.
During our conversation, Damien and I referenced the following resources:
After the conversation, Damien shared with me his interest in learning more about feminism, ecofeminism, and how he downloaded the book, "Ecofeminism: Feminist Intersections with Other Animals and the Earth in response to my inquiry. Damien admitted he didn't know the definition of feminism and considered himself a feminist ally after we shared the definition.
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