Photo Credit: Zimbabwe - Petronella Chigumbura with Akashinga Rangers. (Kim Butts)
Meet The Akashinga: The All-Female Army Protecting Zimbabwe's Wildlife
Some may say a job like this is too dangerous for a woman, but the name explains it all. Akashinga, aka brave ones in the local Zimbabwean dialect, is the all-female army protecting elephants and other wildlife from poachers.
The women were recently featured in a National Geographic documentary that was released on World Elephant Day.
It explains how sadly many of the women are former victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse but have now chosen to put their life on the frontline for these animals.
Many of the women join the program for stability and income, completely transforming their lives for the better. They are trained and equipped just like most armies, and hold their positions with pride.
In an interview with Elle, two of the army’s sergeants detail the lengths that poachers will go to, including using cyanide to kill the animals or even encountering the women with weapons when confronted.
Despite the dangers associated with their position, the women have been able to make hundreds of arrests in the last few years, and have helped bring down the elephant poaching rate by around 80%.
To learn more about the work of the Akashinga, you can visit the International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s website.