Tuesday, 23 October 2018

An Australian Is Training Women To Stop Poachers In Zimbabwe. Is He The Right Man For The Job?

The sun is setting, but rifle drills at this hidden campsite in the bush aren’t over yet. A drill leader shouts commands. The rangers, who are all women dressed in fatigues, respond immediately. 


This isn’t a military camp, but it operates as though it is. When their leader speaks, the rangers act.

That’s all the more true when the person giving commands is Damien Mander, the founder of this operation. Mander, an imposing Australian, trains the women to track, apprehend and even fight criminals who mutilate and kill endangered and at-risk animals, including elephants and rhinos, for money.

The anti-poaching squad that trains here is called Akashinga, a word that means “the brave ones” in Shona, a key language in Zimbabwe. The squad patrols a section of land that attracts both criminal poachers and hunters who operate legally.
An Australian Is Training Women To Stop Poachers In Zimbabwe. Is He The Right Man For The Job?
Mander is the squad’s well-financed chief and a murungu. In Shona, that means “white man.” Here, miles from paved roads and deep in the bush studded with baobab and acacia trees, the rangers seem pleased to follow Mander’s orders.

Today, though, voices are low, faces are long and eyelids are heavy.

Three people are dead: two female rangers and one male sergeant. They were part of a group patrolling a portion of the roughly 230,000 acres that Mander says the unit secures. They came upon a waterway, and some members of the group pushed through the water instead of climbing on the rocks that flanked it. When one ranger began to struggle, her sergeant and another ranger went back to help her. All three drowned.
A visitor, a psychologist from Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, pulls the rangers aside one by one to talk about what happened. There are rumors that there will be a traditional ceremony in a nearby village, once the light fades completely, to eradicate bad spirits, which some locals believe are connected to the deaths.
An Australian Is Training Women To Stop Poachers In Zimbabwe. Is He The Right Man For The Job?
Vimbai Kumile was part of that group on patrol that day in March. She describes what happened - Read more at An Australian Is Training Women To Stop Poachers In Zimbabwe. Is He The Right Man For The Job?

Source - globalpressjournal.com


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