A new film was just released about the world’s only all-female anti-poaching unit. The documentary, entitled “Akashinga: The Brave Ones,” is produced by three-time Academy Award-winning director 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 are working to protect Africa’s key species, including the country’s vulnerable elephants.
The documentary will premiere at the EarthxFilm Festival, which is being screened virtually between April 17 through April 26.
Akashinga: The Brave Ones
Akashinga is a group of rangers—all of which are disadvantaged women—that are revolutionizing the way animals are protected.
Anti-poaching leader and former Australian special forces soldier Damien 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.
James Cameron took to social media to highlight his new film. “I am proud to share Akashinga: The Brave Ones, a powerful short doc coming soon to the Nat Geo Channel. Akashinga puts a spotlight on the International Anti-Poaching Foundation and the courageous women on the front lines of the battle for Africa’s wildlife, under greater threat now than ever before,” he posted on Instagram.