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 170 employees, becoming 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.
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 James Cameron documentary The Game Changers, and is now releasing another documentary with James Cameron and National Geographic about his work with the women of Akashinga.
His TEDx talk at the Sydney Oprah House has been seen over 7 million times through social media and translated into 27 languages. He has spoken at the United Nations, featured in June 2019’s National Geographic Magazine, three times on 60 Minutes and recently recognised by the Dutch Government as a Gender Champion for 2019.
Damien lives in Zimbabwe and has just returned from a sell-out tour across North America as a resident speaker for National Geographic Live.