Monthly Archives: January 2012

RAW (Respect All Wildlife)


Proudly supporting IAPF, RAW Music Festival is raising well-needed funds to support the fight against illegal poaching.

RAW 2012 poster

RAW 2012 highlight’s the local community’s commitment to the environment, conservation and animal rights. Through thinking globally and acting locally this event will provide support for a critical situation off and on our shores while taking actions not only to reduce and offset the greenhouse gas emission produced by this event but to actively contribute to biodiversity conservation locally.

Volunteers lie at the heart of every successful and effective community event. RAW Volunteers are essential in enabling us to achieve our vision and to make a vital contribution to the environment, conservation and animal rights. (Every person involved is a volunteer, there are no wages involved at Raw Inc.)

RAW 2011

Raw 2012 will be a family focused event hosting an action packed day full of entertainment and interactive educational experiences. There will be bands, drumming groups, roaming entertainers, hands on animal experiences, face painting, rides, games, educational talks and much more. Raw will be a licensed event with alcohol free areas were the children’s entertainment will be happening.

Our line up includes:


RAW 2011


Tickets available now from
For further details check us out at  or email us at

On the Road With Damien Mander and the IAPF

Protecting the Voiceless : A personal view

As I patrol through the bush with rangers to my left and right, shadowing a couple of black rhino late on a moonlit night, I pinch myself, still surprised to find myself here.

I have to admit that growing up I was never that concerned about the conservation of animals nor thought much about their rightful place on the earth.  Like many other young contractors earning big dollars in the Middle East, I was more concerned with the material than anything else.  But when I headed to Africa a few years ago and witnessed the destruction first hand, something changed. I realised there is more to life than looking after number one.

Why shouldn’t a rhino, which hasn’t had the need to evolve for thousands of years, have the right to feel safe in its natural environment? Or an impala, be able to roam free without being so callously caught in a snare to suffer a long, slow, painful death?

Steve instructing rangers on the finer points of Cannulation

I feel extremely privileged to be a part of the IAPF.  To be working with such committed, passionate people, united by a single goal, is inspiring.  To see what the organisation has achieved in such a short space of time is awesome.

But in front of us we have a massive task. As well as consolidating the training academies and anti-poaching units that are under our control, we are constantly refining tactics and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the ever-evolving war on poaching.  Additionally, we now have the momentous task of resurrecting Chizarira National Park in north western Zimbabwe. Large as it may be (about 200 000 hectares) I have no doubt we will revive “The Forgotten One”, as it is called, back to its former glory.

The academy and surrounding reserve in Victoria Falls is a great proving ground for new tactics and techniques. If our methods work on a relatively small property like this, then we can adapt them for a much larger place such as Chiz.

Steve Mcqueen has made a comeback!

One of our greatest hopes in this regard, which we hope to achieve with increased funding, will be to launch an unmanned drone over Chiz.  I have witnessed the value of drones in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and Sea Shepard have recently started using them in their operations in the Southern Ocean. The effectiveness of drones would be invaluable, and practically unparalleled in anti-poaching operations

But all of this would not be possible if not for you guys, our faithful donors and supporters. Thank you and please keep up the support.

Steven Dean

IAPF Operations manager


IAPF Video blog

The first IAPF video blog by Damien.

Make sure your signup in the top right hand corner for regular updates.

Understanding Conservation

Today we patrolled from early AM to beat the heat and to look for signs that poachers had been in the area, taking advantage of what is left of the last full moon. Everything was calm and the animals continue to live here unaware of the daily threat on their lives.

Despite the threat it has been another beautiful day in Africa. The sun is now setting over the lake in typical African fashion. We count ourselves lucky for the daily reminder of its brilliance. Elephant are rolling amongst the birds in the shallows, cooling off after a long hot day. I’m also cooling off with an ice cold can of Zambezi lager. Our plan for 2012 has been clearly mapped out. Our main priorities are the academies and anti-poaching operations in Zimbabwe and South Africa and the project in Chizarira. We receive requests for assistance daily from around the world, but available resources limit our capacity to deploy everywhere.

All he needs is a beer!

South Africa’s rhino population was decimated in 2011. 443 rhinos slaughtered for their horn, up from 333 the previous year. JC Strauss is heading up the Eco-Ranger academy for IAPF in South Africa, supported by a team of instructors. Our aim is to train as many rangers as possible in South Africa to be able to protect their rhino. We see the rhino as the hardest animal to protect. If we can protect the rhino we can protect everything in the ecosystem from poachers.

I often find myself wondering how we are ever going to defeat the enormity of the problem we face. As the Far East continues to expand, so does their insatiable appetite for anything we try to protect. As always, with these brief feelings of looming hopelessness, an email will come in offering support in some capacity, be it either a few words of encouragement, a story of success or an offer to volunteer time and services. The selflessness of many people never ceases to amaze me. We must continue to forge together in order to make it through these tough times.

I will leave you with this short quote, written by a well known environmentalist in 1968.

“For in the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught” Baba Dioum

Sunset @ IAPF HQ

We want you to continue understanding about the struggle our world’s wildlife is facing so you can help us with solutions. Please now go to the right hand column and enter your email address to register for our regular blogs.

Thank-you all.

Damien Mander

A Turning Point for Chizarira

The Chizarira escarpment with Tundazi looming in the background

G’day from Zimbabwe, This is our first blog and not a bad week to start things off. I have just returned from Chizarira National Park in north-western Zimbabwe. One of the largest in the country, it has been decimated by poaching over the past 2 decades and wildlife is hard to come by these days. Led by Leon Varley, a guide in Chiz for the past 25 years, we travelled there with Donatella Knecht De Massy and Francisco Gordillo, two Directors from our Monaco chapter. Donatella has been busy over the past 6 months bringing together a group of people who are dedicated to conservation. Francisco is a Jedi Knight in all things media related and is helping us tell the world what needs to be done and how they can volunteer their help.

The trip into the park was amazing. We climbed the holy mountain Tundazi, which is the highest point in the region. Local Batonka people believe this is the stepping stone upon which God will return to Earth. From the top we could see the entire length of the Chizarira mountain range which forms the northern boundary and gives Chizarira its local meaning – The Great Barrier. Insects in Zimbabwe are a little different to Monaco(creating mild, yet frequent hysteria) and we are very grateful to Donatella for the lifetime supply of insect repellent that was left behind after her visit.

Donatella, Francisco and Leon on patrol with rangers in Chizarira after hearing gunshots in the distance.

So, where is all this going? 5 months ago we were approached by the Zimbabwe Government to explore the possibility of resurrecting Chizarira. With 7 different ecological zones and formerly home to the highest concentration of black rhino in the world, this is one special place that needs saving. Upon returning from this trip I had a signed authority in my inbox from National Parks head office to commence the feasibility study and pave the way forward for a long term resurrection project in partnership with Parks and the Wilderness Foundation.

We are now making plans to get back to Chiz as soon as possible to commence the three month feasibility study of the park. This will help us understand the problems being faced and allow us to match solutions to each of these challenges. Unlike other projects I have been involved with in my few years in Africa we will not be starting at the centre of the problem. To save Chiz we must start outside the park, which are the communities and then work our way in. Only when the communities are working will Chiz be saved. It is a very exciting time and we have a fantastic team behind us that will make this happen.

I will sign off by saying Happy Birthday to my beautiful fiancée Maria who will join me in Africa next month, after a painful 2 years of living away from each other. Cheers everyone.

Damien Mander

IAPF – Founder & CEO

%d bloggers like this: