Akashinga: All-female unit combating elephant poaching in Zimbabwe

Posted on 11 August 2020

To celebrate World Elephant Day on August 12, Akashinga: The Brave Ones, will air on National Geographic. Produced by Academy Award winner James Cameron and Directed by Maria Wilhelm, the film spotlighting an all-female team of rangers fighting elephant poaching in Zimbabwe.

Akashinga: All-female unit combating elephant poaching in Zimbabwe

The film tells the story of Akashinga, the all-female anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe that is facing down poachers and saving wildlife.

With many of Africa’s key species, including elephants, reaching levels near extinction, Akashinga is a radical, new and highly effective weapon against poaching. Founded by former Australian special forces soldier and anti-poaching leader Damien Mander, the women-only team of rangers, drawn from the abused and marginalised, is revolutionising the way animals are protected and communities are empowered — and its members’ own lives are being transformed.

Mander’s innovative approach to conservation calls for community buy-in rather than full-on armed assault against poachers: If a community understands the economic benefits of preserving animals, then it will eliminate poaching without an armed struggle. This film is a celebration of the courage, conservation and unorthodox thinking that is leading to massive positive change.

Akashinga is more crucial now than ever: As the global pandemic crisis COVID-19 wages on and resources become increasingly scarce, wildlife will be especially vulnerable to poachers.

‘The illegal trafficking of wildlife is one of the world’s largest criminal industries, linked to terrorism and, some evidence suggests, to the pandemic we are struggling to stop,’ said Mander, founder and CEO of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation and Akashinga.

‘Wildlife trafficking must be stopped at the source. This is the job of wildlife rangers like the Akashinga. They are the first and last line of defense not just for nature, but also for humanity.’

‘While we battle with an increasingly powerful viral enemy, the poaching wars rage on,’ said executive producer James Cameron.

‘The Akashinga are front-line warriors — fiercely committed to protecting Africa’s most vulnerable species and to securing a positive future for their communities. They fight to ensure nature wins.’

‘With the scourge of poaching devastating wildlife not only in Zimbabwe, but across the African continent, it is fitting that we pay tribute to the remarkable bravery shown by the Akashinga anti-poaching unit this World Elephant Day’ said Evert van der Veer, Vice President, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa.

‘I hope that their tenacity and perseverance will inspire viewers across the continent’ he added.

Akashinga: The Brave Ones will premiere on the National Geographic channel (DStv 181, StarSat 220) on 12 August at 20:40 CAT.

Image credit: Supplied

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