Welcome back, dear readers, to another installment of Zookeeper Diaries! In today’s post, we’ll be exploring the life and career of Damien Mander, a former Australian special forces sniper who made a dramatic career shift to become a passionate wildlife defender and anti-poaching crusader. Let’s learn more about Damien’s journey and the incredible work he’s doing in wildlife conservation.
A Life-Changing Trip to Africa
After serving in the Australian military and completing a dozen tours in Iraq, Damien Mander traveled to Africa for a vacation in 2009. It was there that he witnessed the devastating impact of poaching on wildlife populations. This experience profoundly affected him, leading him to dedicate his life to wildlife conservation and the protection of endangered species.
Founding the International Anti-Poaching Foundation
In response to the poaching crisis, Damien founded the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) in 2009. The IAPF is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing training, resources, and support to anti-poaching units and wildlife rangers across Africa. Through their efforts, the IAPF has helped to protect and preserve the lives of countless animals, including elephants, rhinos, and other endangered species.
Akashinga: The Brave Ones
One of Damien’s most innovative and groundbreaking projects is the establishment of Akashinga, an all-female, armed anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe. These courageous women are trained to protect wildlife and habitats, and their presence has been highly effective in reducing poaching activities. Additionally, the program empowers the women involved by providing them with skills, income, and a sense of purpose.
A Voice for Wildlife
Damien Mander has become an influential figure in the world of wildlife conservation, using his unique background and experiences to raise awareness about the devastating effects of poaching on endangered species. He has given numerous TED Talks and has been featured in documentaries, news articles, and other media outlets, all in an effort to bring attention to the urgent need for wildlife protection.
A Continuing Mission
Damien’s dedication to wildlife conservation shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to work tirelessly to train and support anti-poaching units, develop innovative conservation strategies, and raise global awareness about the need for wildlife protection.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Damien Mander and his inspiring journey from sniper to wildlife defender. Stay tuned for more fascinating stories of famous zookeepers and their contributions to the world of animal care and conservation. Don’t forget to subscribe and share our blog with fellow wildlife enthusiasts!
Until next time,