CEO + Founder
Damien Mander is an Australia-born, Zimbabwe-based environmentalist. In 2009 while travelling through Africa post-military, he was inspired by the plight of wildlife. Liquidating his life savings, he established the non-profit Akashinga, formerly known as the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), to usher in a new era of community-based, results-driven conservation in which all life can thrive.
Damien is also the co-founder of LEAD Ranger — an innovative, ISO 9001 certified, internationally recognised leadership training programme whose clients include some of the most reputable conservation organisations in Africa — as well as the Conservation Landscape Alliance (CLA), a collective of organisations working together to achieve landscape-scale conservation in the community owned wilderness areas of Africa.
He is the winner of the 2019 Winsome Constance Kindness Gold Medal, a prestigious international recognition for services to animals and humanity. Past recipients include Sir David Attenborough and Dr Jane Goodall. He was featured in the James Cameron documentaries The Game Changers and National Geographic’s Akashinga - The Brave Ones about his work with the all-female Akashinga Rangers. His TEDx talk at the Sydney Opera House on speciesism has been translated into 27 languages. He is a resident on the National Geographic Live Speakers Bureau and has spoken at the United Nations as well as Harvard University. He was featured in June 2019’s National Geographic Magazine, three times on 60 Minutes, and has been recognised by the Dutch Government as a Gender Champion.