A documentary about the world’s only all-female anti-poaching unit is now available on YouTube. “Akashinga: The Brave Ones” is produced by three-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron and directed by Maria Wilhelm.
The short film—which is a National Geographic Documentary Films production—explores conservation methods of Akashinga. Akashinga is a radical team of vegan women that is working to protect Africa’s key species, including the country’s vulnerable elephants. The group is part of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, founded by anti-poaching leader and former Australian special forces soldier Damien Mander.
“Despite increasing threats to Africa’s wildlife due to COVID-19, the @int.anti.poaching.foundation all-female anti-poaching unit Akashinga stands strong and united,” Cameron wrote on Instagram. “Its courage in the fight for wildlife and community is a lesson to us all.”
Akashinga: The Brave Ones
The Akashinga are revolutionizing the way animals are protected.
Mander founded the team in Zimbabwe. The military-trained sniper, who is also vegan, taught the rangers to use innovative conservation tactics. They rely on working with the local community instead of partaking in a “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,” the National Geographic’s website reads.
Akashinga’s conservation plan is thought to be more sustainable. It protects wildlife and restores local habitats while being deeply rooted in female empowerment.
Mander, who had previously trained thousands of men, revealed women may actually be more effective at stopping poachers. He told the National Geographic that out of a selection of 189 men, only three remained after training. Out of the 36 female recruits trained for the team, only three dropped out.
Mander also found women were more effective at de-escalating violent situations. “After years of training male rangers, he concluded that in some ways women were better suited for the job,” the National Geographic reported.