Damien Mander

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Damien S Mander
Damien Mander - International Anti-Poaching Foundation.jpg
Damien Mander - Anti-poaching activist
Born (1979-12-11) 11 December 1979 (age 38)
Mornington, Australia
Residence Southern Africa
Nationality Australian
Organization International Anti-Poaching Foundation
Website www.iapf.org

Damien Mander (born 11 December 1979 in Mornington, Australia) is an anti-poaching activist and the founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF). He is a former Australian Royal Navy Clearance Diver and Special Operations military sniper.[1]

Mander advocates the use of military equipment and tactics for the purpose of protecting animals from poaching, including the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Mander used his life savings and liquidated his investments and assets to fund the start-up and running costs of the IAPF which seeks to protect wildlife from poaching.[8][9][10][11] He is also a director of the Conservation Guardians.[12]

An environmental and animal welfare activist, Mander believes that animals should be protected for both ethical and environmental reasons. He is a vegan and has given talks against human encroachment on wilderness areas.[13][14][15]

Military career and work[edit]

Mander joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1999 at age 19, where he trained and qualified as a Naval Clearance Diver.[16] In 2003 he was selected for the Tactical Assault Group (East), an elite direct-action and hostage-recovery unit within the Australian Army’s Special Forces 2nd Commando Regiment, as a special operations sniper.[17][18]

Mander then spent three years in Iraq working for several Private Military Organisations concerned with the protection of Australian diplomats,[19][20] and was involved in the training of Iraqi Police.

Mander went on to project-manage the Iraqi Special Police Training Academy in northern Baghdad, where up to 700 cadets at a time received paramilitary training. The Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) project, made up of multinationals, was part of the US-led coalition's effort to develop the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and its Forces.[21]

Mander also worked alongside the US Army’s Corps of Engineers involved with Iraq's reconstruction efforts. His responsibility was to protect key personnel and to conduct reconnaissance missions on key infrastructure across Iraq.[citation needed]

Mander left Iraq in 2008.

Africa[edit]

In 2009 Mander traveled to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to escape the death and destruction he had seen in Iraq.[22][23]

After learning about poaching in Southern Africa and the criminal networks that used military equipment to poach for profit, Mander was convinced that his specialised military skills, personal finances, and experience could contribute significantly to wildlife protection and conservation.[24]

Working as a volunteer with an anti-poaching unit in the Zambezi National Park (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe), Mander gained first-hand experience of anti-poaching work and the effect of poaching on wildlife. He began writing training packages that would later form the basis of the IAPF's ranger training course.[25]

International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF)[edit]

Using his life savings and funds raised from the liquidation of his investment properties acquired through nine years of military service and private military employment, Mander founded the International Anti-Poaching Foundation in 2009. He personally funded the start-up and initial running costs, built a ranger training academy at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and bought a two-seater aircraft as well as vehicles for anti-poaching work.[26][27][28]

With the mission statement "To protect and preserve wildlife in volatile regions," the International Anti-Poaching Foundation focuses on ranger training, operations, and integrating modern technology and solutions (such as drone/UAV technology) for conservation.[29]

The foundation aims to provide ranger training free of charge and is funded through public donations, grants, and fundraising activities.[30]

The IAPF has operated in South Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, and is becoming increasingly well known for establishing crack anti-poaching units by putting locals through specialist tactical training programs.[31]

Conservation Guardians[edit]

Mander is a director of Conservation Guardians, an association that seeks to protect and conserve wildlife.[32]

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)[edit]

Damien Mander launching a UAV

Mander advocates for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to protect endangered wildlife. He and the IAPF’s team of specialists in Australia have developed their fourth generation of unmanned drones, which feature thermal and night-vision technology for use in military-style anti-poaching operations.[33][34][35]

In the media[edit]

Mander's anti-poaching and environmentalism work has been featured in National Geographic, Africa Geographic, 60 Minutes, Animal Planet, Al Jazeera, Voice of America, Forbes, Sunday Times, and Good Weekend Magazine.[36][37][38][39][40]

In 2013, Mander gave a presentation about conservation at TEDx Sydney titled "Modern Warrior".[41]

Mander featured, both as a narrator and as a cast member, in Unity, a feature-length documentary.[42]The subject of the film focuses on humanity’s propensity for apathy and empathy, it is divided into four parts: Body, Mind, Heart and Soul. [43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2016/10/26/elite-soldier-anti-poaching-crusader Chicago Tonight News Article, retrieved 9 May 2018]
  2. ^ Australia Unlimited article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  3. ^ Rhino UAV Trials, retrieved 2 July 2013
  4. ^ Rhino Rhino UAVs, retrieved 2 July 2013
  5. ^ Africa Geographic UAV article, retrieved 2 July 2013 Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Herald Sun article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  7. ^ IAPF website News
  8. ^ VOA News article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  9. ^ International Anti-Poaching Foundation website, retrieved 2 July 2013
  10. ^ Africa Geographic UAV article, retrieved 2 July 2013 Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ National Geographic article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  12. ^ Conservation Guardians, retrieved 2 July 2013
  13. ^ The Age article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  14. ^ ABC News interview, retrieved July 2013
  15. ^ Once Upon A Vegan article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  16. ^ The Age article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  17. ^ Africa Media Online article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  18. ^ Africa Geographic UAV article, retrieved 2 July 2013 Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Sydney Morning Herald article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  20. ^ Conservation Guardians website, retrieved 2 July 2013
  21. ^ Sydney Morning Herald article, 2 July 2013
  22. ^ Voice of America news article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  23. ^ Bryan Schatz interview, retrieved 2 July 2013
  24. ^ The Age article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  25. ^ Sydney Morning Herald article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  26. ^ TEDx Sydney Speaker Profile, retrieved 2 July 2013
  27. ^ IAPF Board
  28. ^ Carte Blanche Damien's Rhinos, retrieved 2 July 2013
  29. ^ IAPF website
  30. ^ IAPF website
  31. ^ IAPF website
  32. ^ Conservation Guardians website, retrieved 2 July 2013
  33. ^ Nouse article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  34. ^ IAPF Drones
  35. ^ DIY Drones
  36. ^ TEDx Sydney Speaker Profile, retrieved 2 July 2013
  37. ^ Africa Geographic UAV article, retrieved 2 July 2013 Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  38. ^ 60 Minutes interview, retrieved 2 July 2013
  39. ^ National Geographic article, retrieved 2 July 2013
  40. ^ IAPF website News
  41. ^ TEDx Sydney Speaker Profile, retrieved 2 July 2013
  42. ^ Unity cast, retrieved 18 September 2012
  43. ^ Unity about, retrieved 18 September 2012

External links[edit]