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Public Lecture Series Encore with Damien Mander

Rhino Wars – Rise of the Insurgency

Due to overwhelming demand, Damien Mander will give an encore presentation of his lecture tomorrow evening, Friday, September 25th.

As Iraq’s insurgency started to rise up 2005, Damien landed in Baghdad for what would be the first of 12 tours into the ware zone. Now 9 years later, and it is a different enemy being faced.

After starting the International Anti-Poaching Foundation in 2009, Damien focused on the protection of high target species. These are the hardest animals to protect in an ecosystem, and when they are safeguarded, everything is being looked after in nature.

The rhino was declared extinct in Mozambique in 2013. This tragedy presented Damien and the IAPF with an opportunity to not only help develop and maintain a safe-haven again for rhino in Mozambique, but to assist in the protection to the worlds largest rhino population.

Kruger National Park, South Africa, is home to up to 40% of the worlds remaining rhino. 90% of these rhino reside in the bottom half of KNP below the Ollifants River, with 60% of these rhino residing in the southernmost quarter of the Park. In 2014 KNP accounted for 68% of South Africa’s 1215 poached rhino. Major General Johan Jooste, head of Special Operations in KNP, asserts that around 80% of the poachers responsible for this carnage come from Mozambique or exit back into Mozambique. The Greater Lebomobo Conservancy is the stretch of land they must cross to reach the killing fields.

The Greater Lebombo Conservancy (GLC), an area of 2,483 km2, is currently the most critical piece of land on the planet for rhino conservation. It is all that stands between the worlds highest concentrations of rhino and the world’s highest concentration of rhino poaching syndicates. Despite this, it has remained an almost forgotten anomaly in South Africa’s top-level conservation planning for the past 7 years, and has acted as a highway for rhino poachers entering Kruger National Park.

Working with key stakeholders over an 18-month period, the IAPF coordinated efforts to produce a draft Strategy Plan for Anti-Poaching for the region, and has begun to implement these steps with local partners in an effort to stop the hemorrhaging. This project aims to help safeguard up to 8,000 rhino, making its success a critical requirement for the future of the species. It also provides an opportunity to help stop poachers meeting a gloomy fate whilst conducting these operations, where over 480 have died already the past 5 years, and as many sit in jail.

Prior to becoming involved in conservation Damien served as a Clearance Diver in the Royal Australia Navy and then as a sniper in the Australian Army’s niche Special Operations unit Tactical Assault Group East. Whilst later deployed in Iraq he was involved in training and went on to Project Manage the Iraq Special Police Training Academy in northern Baghdad with a focus on paramilitary operations.

In 2009 Damien traveled to Africa for a snapshot of anti-poaching. What seemed like the beginning of another adventure soon turned into a reality check of the hardships rangers face on a daily basis trying to defend our natural heritage. Having both the experience required to assist and the funding to make that a reality, he founded the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.

With a mission of ‘Wildlife Conservation through Direct Action’, the IAPF focuses on training and equipping rangers, developing and implementing joint conservation security strategies and overseeing anti-poaching operations. Now registered in four countries, the IAPF undertakes 5 major campaigns and has supported 41 other conservation initiatives up to the investment value of $50,000.

Alongside the ground level work, IAPF is bringing global attention to the issue of poaching with their efforts featuring in National Geographic Magazine, twice on 60 Minutes, Voice of America, Discovery Network, Animal Planet, Good Weekend Magazine, The Project, Australia and Africa Geographic Magazines, British Airways Highlife, Christian Science Monitor, Carte Blanch, Al Jazeera, ABC, Forbes, The Sunday Times and the UK Daily Telegraph.

Damien has spoken about conservation at TEDx Sydney, Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking in Washington DC, The United Nations Great Apes Survival Summit in Jackson Hole and the ‘We Are Africa’ Conference in Cape Town.

Date: September 25, 2015

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Lecture

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC Student Members, $5 w/ a valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a reservation, please call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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