A new documentary short tells the story of Akashinga, the all-female anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe that is facing down poachers and saving wildlife.
Akashinga: The Brave Ones, which was executive produced by three-time Academy Award winner James Cameron, will premiere at the EarthxFilm Festival, which will be held virtually between April 22 and 27 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It is a National Geographic Documentary Films production.
Akashinga, founded by former Australian special forces soldier and anti-poaching leader Damien Mander, is a women-only team of rangers fighting poaching.
According to National Geographic Documentary Films, the women 'drawn from the abused and marginalized' are 'revolutionizing the way animals are protected and communities are empowered'.
The organization adds: "This short film is a celebration of the courage, conservation and unorthodox thinking that’s leading to massive positive change."
'First and last line of defense'
Damien Mander, founder and CEO of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation and Akashinga, said in a statement: "The illegal trafficking of wildlife is one of the world’s largest criminal industries, linked to terrorism and, some evidence suggests, to the pandemic we’re struggling to stop.
"Wildlife trafficking must be stopped at the source. This is the job of wildlife rangers like the Akashinga. They’re the first and last line of defense not just for nature, but also for humanity."
Executive Producer James Cameron told Plant Based News: "While we battle with an increasingly powerful viral enemy, the poaching wars rage on.
"The Akashinga are front-line warriors - fiercely committed to protecting Africa’s most vulnerable species and to securing a positive future for their communities.
"They fight to ensure nature wins."
Akashinga: The Brave Ones is also an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival and will broadcast on National Geographic later this year in 171 countries and 43 languages.