Female Army Veteran Hunts Poachers In AfricaAndrea Powell
What do you get when you mix an army veteran, animal lover and tattooed huntress – one fierce animal protector that will stop poachers in their tracks.
Kinessa Johnson served four years in the armed forces as a weapons instructor and mechanic before she used her extensive training to defend wildlife from poachers. Johnson took her experience and love for animals and headed to Africa, where she joined a team of other veterans at Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VEPAW).
VEPAW is made up of other veteran that use their knowledge and expertise to train rangers how to capture and stop poachers from killing wildlife in Africa. The offenders are captured and turned over to authorities. “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,” she told 11 Alive.
Johnson has nearly 200,000 followers on Facebook, where she advocates for animals and shares her thoughts on poachers. “This isn’t surprising. Corruption is all over Africa. The picture is always bigger when it comes to poaching. Always,” she posted in reference to an article about bribes the African government took in exchange for rhino deaths.
THe VEPAW team is working hard to train park rangers tp protect rhinos and all other wildlife in Africa. Johnson posted, “The fight is getting worse as everyone would have seen recently with the increase of rhino poaching in the Eastern Cape. Unfortunately it’s not just the Rhino that are suffering. Snaring, hunting with dogs and large caliber rifles is taking a heavy toll on our wildlife populations. Being a ranger is about conservation, education and a commitment to wildlife protection.”
Her efforts with VEPAW are supported by animal activists like Ricky Gervais and thousands more. However, her biggest fans are her two bulldogs, Saint and Ragnar. She is currently recovering from surgery, but hopes to return to Africa soon to protect the innocent wildlife.
“Stand alone, be a wolf, a rebel, a warrior, a savage, a badass.”