Environment, Singles, 1st Prize. “Akashinga – The Brave Ones” By Brent Stirton (3/30)



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Petronella Chigumbura (30), a member of an all-female anti-poaching unit called Akashinga, participates in stealth and concealment training in the Phundundu Wildlife Park, Zimbabwe. Akashinga (‘The Brave Ones’) is a ranger force established as an alternative conservation model. It aims to work with, rather than against local populations, for the long-term benefits of their communities and the environment. Akashinga comprises women from disadvantaged backgrounds, empowering them, offering jobs, and helping local people to benefit directly from the preservation of wildlife. Other strategies—such as using fees from trophy hunting to fund conservation—have been criticized for imposing solutions from the outside and excluding the needs of local people.


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