Damien Mander on Becoming an Anti-Poaching Warrior and Rediscovering His Heart: PYP 225
August 30, 2017
Damien Mander's entire identity centered around war: as a 19-year-old who joined the Australian Royal Navy and trained as a clearance diver; as a spec-ops sniper; as a member of an elite Tactical Assault Group; and as a special operations soldier in Iraq for several years.
After leaving Iraq in 2008 after 12 tours of duty, Damien was burned out, dispirited, and ill-equipped to manage in civilian society. Still addicted to adventure and thrill, he found his way to Southern Africa, where he started working with the rangers and organizations dedicated to protecting the big animals of Africa from poachers.
Something clicked within his heart as he witnessed a pregnant rhino dying from wounds inflicted by the poachers who took her horn. As he pulled the trigger to put the great beast out of her misery, he knew that his "shitty skillset" that was no use in normal society could do much good in the bush of Africa.
Damien began liquidating the fortune he had amassed while fighting in Iraq, and founded the International Anti-Poaching Federation (IAPF).