International Anti-Poaching Foundation
The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) is a non-profit organisation registered in Australia, predominately operating on the African continent. The group initially created a structured military-like approach to conservation, employing tactics and technology generally reserved for the modern-day battlefield, and has since moved to a community oriented approach. This has included the training of local women as rangers.
The organisation was founded by Damien Mander, after a trip to Africa where he intended to us his experience as a navy diver and special operations sniper for conservation. He observed the problems that front-line rangers and wildlife experienced, used his life savings and sold his real estate holdings to found the IAPF in 2009. He was soon joined by his working colleague, wartime veteran and friend of 11 years, Steven Dean. The pair now operate the IAPF in Africa, spending most of the year on the ground protecting wildlife.
In 2010, the TV program 60 Minutes filmed IAPF operations in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, which focused on conservation efforts for the black rhinoceros. In 2012, 60 Minutes then filmed the IAPF using unmanned drones (UAVs) in Mozambique's Niassa National Reserve.
In 2015 the IAPF transitioned away from military tactics towards community-oriented strategies for their anti-poaching work, attempting to incentivize locals to join the conservation effort. Part of this effort was to train women to become rangers, helping both wildlife conservation and women empowerment efforts. The first program that the IAPF set up for women was in the Lower Zambezi Valley and Phundundu, Zimbabwe. The initial outreach for candidates focused on “victims of sexual assault or domestic violence; who were single mothers or abandoned wives; or who were Aids orphans,” according to the BBC.
They have also set up training programs for women in South Africa. Over its first year, the female anti-poaching unit was able to make about 70 arrests over the first year. 60 Minutes filmed for a third time in 2018, covering the Akashinga program in ZImbabwe's Lower Zambezi Valley, which is the first nature reserve in the world to be managed and protected by women. Jane Goodall is a patron of the organization.
IAPF operates an anti-poaching unit, protecting the breeding program of black rhinos on the Stanley & Livingstone Private Game Reserve. No rhinos have been killed during the time IAPF has operated there. IAPF also provides free training in Zimbabwe for rangers. The IAPF's rangers are taught skills including ambush, patrolling, arrest, crime scene preservation, and camouflage and concealment.
Some skills are an adaptation of military courses, adjusted to suit conservation efforts. Some convicted poachers have been rehabilitated and sent out to work as rangers. In South Africa the IAPF co-developed of the nation’s Anti-Poaching Ranger qualification standard.
- "A different battle". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "IAPF - International Anti-poaching Foundation". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Rise of the Drones – Africa Geographic Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Zimbabwe, Rachel Nuwer from. "Meet the 'Brave Ones': The women saving Africa's wildlife". www.bbc.com.
- Damien's Rhino – Carte Blanche Archived 21 April 2013 at Archive.today
- "Damien Mander - Beat Magazine". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- Conservation Rambo – Mindfood, Smart Thinking
- "Damien's War". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Anti Poaching in Zim - Africa Media Online". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Jungle Warfare". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Female anti-poaching squads making a difference in Zimbabwe and SA". 10 January 2019.
- Dermentzi, Maria. "An all-female armed unit is making sure poachers stay away from one of Africa's largest elephant populations". Mashable.
- Callaghan, Greg (25 September 2018). "Killing season: Crisis time for Africa's famed wildlife". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- Wildlife war zone hero – The Sunday Times
- The war against poachers – 702 Talk Radio South Africa
- "Iraq War Veteran Battles Rhino Poachers in Africa". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "geographic iapf.pdf On the front line – Africa Geographic Magazine".
- "Raw for Africa – Military skills applied in a new fight – Contact Magazine" (PDF).
- "De-Horning Rhino by the International Anti-Poaching Foundation". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Details". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
- "Nominees of the 2013 Genesis Awards".