S3, Ep20: Anti-Poaching & Female Empowerment, with Damien Mander, the Vegan Ranger
This season of The ChickPeeps is brought to you by our friends at Vivo Life! Use our code 'chickpeeps10' to get 10% off your order at vivolife.com.
This week on the show we’re talking to the founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, Damien Mander. Damien is a former Special Operations sniper who traveled to Africa in 2009, after leaving the military, in search of a new adventure. Instead he discovered “a purpose amongst chaos” when he saw the body of an enormous bull elephant that had been brutally killed for his tusks. In that moment, Damien’s life changed forever and our movement gained a powerful, passionate and highly skilled animal advocate. In this interview Damien talks to Robbie and Evy about his vegan journey, founding the IAPF and about Akashinga, Africa’s first armed, plant-based, all-women anti-poaching unit.
We conducted this interview while Damien was at one of the IAPF reserves in Kenya. The sounds you can hear in the background of our conversation are the authentic noises of the Kenyan wildlife at night!
Also in this episode…
* Damien identifies going vegan as the single most important thing he’s done with his life.
* In pursuit of adventure, Damien talks about his initial motivation to visit Africa, having heard about the anti-poaching world years earlier.
* “These guys are defending the heart and lungs of the planet.” - Damien talks about seeing the work of rangers for the first time, and how it made him see past his ego to reevaluate his life and the kind of person he wanted to be.
* “Having hunted [animals] before Iraq, I never hunted after Iraq because I knew what it was like to be hunted” - Damien talks about how his perspective on animals was radically shifted by his experiences serving twelve tours in Iraq.
* How the world of anti-poaching gave Damien a purpose that had previously eluded him.
* Damien shares how he repurposed his skills as a sniper in the army to set up the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.
* We learn about Akashinga, Africa’s first plant-based all-female anti-poaching unit and Damien shares why he believes women are innately predisposed to be able to protect wildlife and de-escalate conflict.
* “The women are survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, AIDs orphans, single mothers, abandoned wives and when we set this up we thought, ‘lets give an opportunity to some of the most marginalized women, in the toughest positions’ - what we didn’t realise is we were getting the hardest women there were” - on the all female Akashinga rangers.
* “There’s two types of conservationists. Vegans… and those that don’t like to take their work home” - Damien pulls no punches when talking about his stance on veganism as a conservationist.
* Damien has a fresh definition of the alpha male.
International Anti-Poaching Foundation
Damien’s Modern Warrior TEDtalk
Phillip Wollen: Animals Should Be Off the Menu
Akashinga: The Brave Ones
The Game Changers
Chef Cola’s Instagram
Get In Touch:
Bonus Content: ChickPeeps Patreon