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A highly-effective all-female anti-poaching ranger unit called the Akashinga is protecting wildlife and revolutionizing the fight against illegal trophy hunting.

We’re on a mission to scale our community-driven conservation model, empowering disadvantaged women to restore and manage a network of wilderness areas as an alternative economic model to trophy hunting.

Since being founded in 2017 as part of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), the Akashinga (meaning The Brave Ones in the Shona language) helped reduce elephant poaching in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi Valley by a whopping 80 percent.

Damien Mander oversees combat training; the team he leads is thought to be the world’s first all-women ranger unit protecting a nature reserve (Credit: Rachel Nuwer)

Many of the women join the program for stability and income, completely transforming their lives for the better. They are trained and equipped just like most armies, and hold their positions with pride.

In an interview with Elle, two of the army’s sergeants detail the lengths that poachers will go to, including using cyanide to kill the animals or even encountering the women with weapons when confronted.

Despite the dangers associated with their position, the women have been able to make hundreds of arrests in the last few years, and have helped bring down the elephant poaching rate by around 80%.

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To learn more about the work of the Akashinga, you can visit the International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s website.

 

 

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