40-year-old Australian born and Zimbabwean based Damien is an Iraq war veteran who served as a Naval clearance diver and special operations sniper for the Australian Defense Force. In 2009 while travelling through Africa, he was inspired by the work of rangers and the plight of wildlife. Liquidating his life savings, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) was established to be the last line of defence for nature. Over the past decade the IAPF has scaled to train and support rangers which now help protect over 20 million acres of African wilderness.
In 2017 Damien founded ‘Akashinga - Nature Protected by Women’, an IAPF program that has already grown to over 240 employees with 7 nature reserves in the portfolio. They are the only group of nature reserves in the world to be protected by women. Their goal is to employ 1000 women by 2025, protecting a network of 20 nature reserves, all managed by the IAPF.
Damien is also the co-founder of LEAD Ranger, an innovative and prestigious training program in Kenya whose clients include some of the most renowned conservation organisations in southern and East 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 newly released documentary The Game Changers from 6-time Oscar winning Director James Cameron, and has now released another documentary with James Cameron and National Geographic about his work with the women of Akashinga – “The Brave One’s”.
His TEDx talk at the Sydney Oprah House has been seen over 7 million times and translated into 27 languages. He is a resident on the National Geographic Live Speakers Bureau, has spoken at the United Nations, Harvard University, featured in June 2019’s National Geographic Magazine, three times on 60 Minutes and recognised by the Dutch Government as a Gender Champion for 2019.
Tuesday 2 November