Damien Mander, Founder & CEO


Damien served as a Clearance Diver and special operations sniper in the Australian Defense Force. Whilst later deployed in Iraq he went on to Project Manage the Iraq Special Police Training Academy, preparing Iraq’s paramilitary forces for the frontlines. Following three years in Iraq Damien departed in 2008 with no direction in life. In 2009 while travelling through Africa he was awakened to the horrors that the natural world is facing, in particular the criminal networks threatening the survival of rhinos and elephants. Liquidating 100% of his personal assets, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation was created as a direct action conservation organisation to be used as a surgical instrument in targeting wildlife crime.

Damien’s time in conservation has been a continuous learning adventure. In the early days IAPF started by delivering basic & intermediate training to rangers in the field. Soon realizing this would not achieve anything lasting, more holistic strategies were needed. IAPF built large operations with a direct action focus that achieved their objectives, but something was still missing. In 2017 the organization took a primarily community approach to law enforcement in conservation and have not looked back.

10 years after founding and with the likes of Dr Jane Goodall as their Patron, IAPF has an operational presence in 4 countries, currently running 3 major campaigns, and has supported or led over 45 other conservation programs. The rangers IAPF have supported or trained protect over 6 million acres of wilderness everyday in Africa.

Damien as the winner of the 2019 Winsome Constance Kindness Gold Medal for 2019, a prestigious international recognition for services to animals and humanity. 

Damien resides in Zimbabwe and spends the majority of his year in Africa. The rest is spent travelling where he lectures about conservation, environmentalism, veganism and animal ethics. 

Damien’s TEDx talk at the Sydney Opera House (2013)
Damien Mander – Wikipedia