The Akashinga is the first fully armed, all-women, anti-poaching team in Africa and they show their communities that it isn’t necessary to eat meat to be healthy.

The Akashinga, or “Brave Ones,” is a privately-funded, highly-trained, vegan group of local women from extremely disadvantaged backgrounds assigned to protect the Lower Zambezi Ecosystem along the Zambian and Zimbabwean border. The goal is to recruit 2,000 women in an effort to protect 30 million acres of African wild lands by 2030.

Founded in early 2017 by former Australian Special Operations soldier Damien Mander as part of his approach to end poaching in Africa, the Akashinga is the first fully armed, all-women, anti-poaching team in Africa. (The Black Mambas of South Africa are the first female anti-poaching team; they are unarmed.)

“Many current western solutions to conserve wilderness areas continue to struggle across the African continent, hampered by ongoing corruption, nepotism and a lack of partnership with local communities,” Mander told Maria Chiorando of Plant Based News. “We saw that an alternative and highly innovative approach was needed, a response that worked with, rather than against, the local population for the long-term benefit of both their own communities and nature.”

The Lower Zambezi Ecosystem is just one of many areas in Africa with large tracts of land dedicated to trophy hunting outside wildlife preserves. No fences exist to keep animals in the protected areas from wandering into the unprotected areas. In the past, trophy hunters have paid into local economies through their expensive and high profile hunting activities. The IAPF presents the Akashinga as an alternative for conserving wildlife – a technique of big game management directly juxtaposed to trophy hunting.

The choice for Mander to go vegan, and also insist on his team being vegan, hinged on the realization that they were going out to protect one group of animals and coming back to eat another. He couldn’t live with that hypocrisy, and wanted to protect his team from the scrutiny it would surely receive if members were still eating meat.

“I don’t miss meat at all, when I go home for leave and people try to feed me meat, I can’t eat it because my stomach hurts if I do, and I tell people no, don’t give me meat, I am vegan,” Akashinga ranger Vimbai Kumire said in a report published by The Guardian.

Muposhi says the vegan lifestyle is a driver of change in the local communities. The women show their communities it isn’t necessary to eat meat to be healthy. That lowers the demand for bushmeat and farm animals, which are drivers of habitat loss.

Original source: https://www.environews.tv