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Female Army Veteran Hunted Down Africa’s Poachers To Protect Endangered Species

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Female Army Veteran Hunted Down Africa’s Poachers To Protect Endangered Species

The internet is awash with photos of wealthy holidaymakers and criminals posing alongside the heads of elephants and rhinos.

But US military veteran Kinessa Johnson spent years battling gangs of poachers in Africa, working as part of a team trying desperately to protect the world's most endangered species.

Following her military career, she signed up to the Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW) as an anti-poaching advisor.

She had previously worked as a weapons instructor and mechanic during a tour of Afghanistan.


Speaking back in 2018 about her change of career, she said that she just wanted to make a difference.

Kinessa told 11 Alive: "Our intention is not to harm anyone; we're here to train park rangers so they can track and detain poachers and ultimately prevent poaching.

"Most of the time anyone that is in a reserve with a weapon is considered a threat and can be shot if rangers feel threatened.


"Our goal is to prevent trigger pulling through strategic movements and methods of prevention."

In the past, her efforts have even been praised by the likes of Ricky Gervais, who shared his support for the tireless work of the VETPAW.

Posting a photograph of Kinessa to his Twitter, page, the comedian wrote: "Follow @VETPAW Army Veterans who protect African Wildlife from poachers."


She is one of many women who have put their lives on the line to protect defenceless species from extinction.

Nyaradzo Hoto escaped an abusive marriage and joined an elite squad in Zimbabwe, the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), which works to protect the world's most vulnerable animals.

Her troop, named Akashinga ('The Brave Ones'), is the world's first armed, all-female anti-poaching force, which takes women who have suffered indescribable acts of violence and torture, and gives them a new life.

Credit: Brent Strirton
Credit: Brent Strirton

"It was a once in a lifetime breakthrough," she told LADbible. "The training for Akashinga was so tough, but it was an eye-opening experience.

"This was what I was born to do. As a woman, I was focused on using Akashinga as a tool to fight my battle towards a better life."

And while facing dangerous criminals every day may seem terrifying to most, Nyaradzo is focused on her job.

"I'm not scared of arresting poachers," she says. "Because if we don't stop them, nothing will be left.


"Animals can't speak, so it is now my responsibility to rise and stand firmly to save their lives. I have nothing to fear. Saving animals is now my first priority.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram

Topics: World News, Africa, Inspirational, Twitter, Animals, Ricky Gervais

Dominic Smithers
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