Brains behind Africa's first all female anti-poaching unit shares his story
The Australian-born special forces sniper is now using the lesson and skills he gained from the military to help support conservation in Africa.
After leaving the Australian military a decade ago, Mander says he came to the continent looking for a fight but instead found a cause.
He launched the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) and began recruiting and training women to become wildlife rangers in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi Valley.
Many of the rangers in the special anti-poaching unit, known as The Akashinga (or “brave ones") are survivors of abuse and exploitation.
Mander says the unit has empowered the women from several villages and communities where wildlife conservation is the traditionally male-dominated space.
The unit operates in Phunduna Nature Reserve which is a block on the southern border of Mana Pools Reserve in the Lower Zambezi Valley.
I eventually ended up travelling around Africa, looking to put a set of unsavoury skills to a different use - and I found conservation.Damien Mander, Founder - International Anti-Poaching Foundation
11 years ago, I wanted to run around the bush and hunt poachers. You realise it's not about that. There's much more to conservation.Damien Mander, Founder - International Anti-Poaching Foundation
It will be the people that decide the future of conservation, not bigger fences or more guns.Damien Mander, Founder - International Anti-Poaching Foundation
If you're going to provide an opportunity, do it for the ones who need it the most.Damien Mander, Founder - International Anti-Poaching Foundation
Mander joined CapeTalk's Pippa Hudson in studio to discuss his journey.
Listen to the fascinating discussion:
"Rwanda - they don't feel sorry for themselves. They don't blame foreigners or the rest of the world," says Nicky Verd.Read More
A new mega subsea cable project is expected to provide more reliable high-speed internet to Africa and the Middle East.Read More
Distrust anything Covid-19 related that you receive from outside your trusted parameter, warns cybersecurity expert Brian Pinnock.Read More
Many foreigners face discrimination in China – Africans in particular, says Cobus van Staden, a China-Africa relations researcher.Read More
Sierra Leone's education minister's being praised for participating in an online meeting while caring for his daughter.Read More
Some airlines are nimbler than others. Africa’s best is trying to survive by turning to cargo, says Dianna Games (Africa At Work).Read More
The Oxford University team's experimental coronavirus vaccine is in the process of being trialled on humans.Read More
Oil exporting countries are bleeding, says Neville Mandimika, Africa Strategist at Rand Merchant Bank.Read More
75-year-old Yoweri Museveni wants to inspire Ugandans to stay fit under Covid-19 restrictions.Read More
Two French doctors sparked outrage with their idea for Africa to be used as the testing ground for coronavirus vaccines.Read More