Australian philanthropist Angus Murray has generously donated an undisclosed 6-figure sum, as the Founding member of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation’s (IAPF) Benefactors Alliance.
Setting the bar at 6 figures for membership as a Founding Benefactor, Murray expressed great concern for the future of high target species such as rhinoceros, elephant and gorillas when he handed over the check to IAPF CEO Damien Mander in South Africa.
“These animals are already threatened by increasingly motivated, sophisticated and well-armed poachers, and now with recent links to terrorism, the immediacy of the problem is as critical as ever. The IAPF provides the solution, both immediate and long term. Thousands of dedicated rangers are on the ground, defending these animals, most of them without the necessary training or support. Currently a ranger is killed every four days in the line of duty. The IAPF Anti-Poaching Ranger Programme and Drone Programme, will give these rangers the skill-set and support they desperately need to protect and preserve our wildlife.”
Iraq veteran Mander, a former Australia Special Operations Sniper, founded the IAPF after witnessing the devastation of the world’s wildlife, frequently at the hands of well trained, well equipped criminal syndicates that show no mercy when hunting for ivory and rhino horn. His no nonsense approach to conservation involves the para-military style training and operations of rangers who are stationed on the front-lines of what Mander describes as the “World Wildlife War”. “It is an unfortunate world we live in that circumstances require rangers to be supported in such a manner. You can package up anti-poaching anyway you like it, but the ultimate truth is that this side of conservation is a para-military operation. The threat must be met with accurate, calculated defensive measures. We are protecting a dying global treasure and there is no limit to the systems we are willing to implement to save these animals for future generations,” said Mander.
Murray’s funds will be put towards programs run by the organization’s core unit of former Special Operations personnel, who utilize advanced conservation methods based on military systems. Murray reflected: “We all wish it could be different, but this is the world that we live in today. Poachers are using automatic weapons, night vision equipment and in some cases, helicopters. The use of technology such as drones allows small anti-poaching teams to cover vast areas effectively and efficiently. These are the animals that I, as a child, grew to love and adore from watching shows presented by David Attenborough. It is these same animals that we must protect for the survival of our planet and the future of our children. This can only happen if we act now. Damien’s mission is to make sure the rangers are empowered to carry out this job in the face of adversity. There is no job more important and there is no time to waste."
The IAPF Benefactors Alliance was established by Murray as an exclusive group of members, to fund the IAPF’s programs. In a recent address at the United Nations Great Apes Survival Summit, Mander stated, “Protecting high target species must be the benchmark of wildlife protection. When we can protect these animals, the hardest to protect, we know that everything else in that eco-system is safe from poachers.”
Murray has laid down the invitation for other high net worth philanthropists to also join the IAPF Benefactors Alliance and ensure poachers and criminal syndicates understand that extinction is not an option.