James Cameron’s New Film Spotlights All-Female, Vegan Anti-Poaching Force
James Cameron, the three-time Academy Award Winner and executive producer behind the plant-based documentary The Game Changers has partnered with National Geographic to tell the true-life story of the all-female, vegan anti-poaching group of rangers out of Zimbabwe known as The Akashinga.
Akashinga Spotlights All-Female Animal Protectors
Debuted this past Wednesday, August 12th, Akashinga: The Brave Ones documents Zimbabwe's all-female, vegan group of rangers that help protect elephants, lions and rhinos from poachers. The Akashinga, which means 'Brave Ones', is an arm of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) founded in 2017 by Damien Mander, the former military sniper who was also featured as a super vegan in The Game Changers.
Since its inception, The Akashinga has helped to reduce Zimbabwe's elephant poaching by roughly 80 percent. Cameron's Akashinga: The Brave Ones originally premiered on National Geographic's Youtube channel for World Elephants Day to raise awareness of the nearly 85,0000 that are native to Zimbabwe, and is still available to stream at this link.
"With many of Africa’s key species, including elephants, heading toward extinction, Akashinga is a radical, new and highly effective weapon against poaching. Founded in Zimbabwe by former Australian special forces soldier and anti-poaching leader Damien Mander, the women-only team of rangers is revolutionizing the way animals are protected, communities are empowered — and its members’ own lives are being transformed. Mander’s innovative approach to conservation calls for community buy-in rather than 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."
A recent Elle article profiled two of the women of the Akashinga, and they spoke about how the group is not just helping to protect Zimbabwe's wildlife, but also empowering them to support their own family. Sgt. Petronella Chigumbura says, "As a woman, I was focused on using Akashinga as a tool to fight my battle for a better life. I can now feed my kids and pay school fees for them. I acquired a driver’s license, which is a big deal for women in Africa! I am also building a big house for my children. Now I have the pride of having my own future."
Stream Akashinga: The Brave Ones above or visit National Geographic's Youtube channel to watch the inspiring 13-minute short film.