E-bikes for Wildlife Protection

SunCycles team handing over the E-bikes to conservancy game guards, manager  and chairperson
SunCycles team handing over the E-bikes to conservancy game guards, manager and chairperson
Training session
Training session
Game guard test riding one of the E-bikes
Game guard test riding one of the E-bikes
Wuparo conservancy manager riding the E-bike
Wuparo conservancy manager riding the E-bike
Wuparo conservancy manager with one of the E-bikes
Wuparo conservancy manager with one of the E-bikes
Suncycles Electrics Namibia
Suncycles Electrics Namibia

In March 2019, the SunCycles team travelled to Wuparo conservancy, in Zambezi region, to deliver two E-Bikes and conduct training with a selected number of conservancy members. The donation of the E-bikes was welcomed by conservancy members and will be used to assist game guards, when on duty patrolling and monitoring natural resources to protect the natural environment, including wildlife from threats such as poaching.

A team consisting of three game guards, the conservancy manager and chairperson were present, and actively took part in a training session on E-Bike maintenance. The bicycles were also supplied with ‘Fug It’, a fibre-based slime inserted in the tubes to prevent flat tyres when travelling over thorny terrain, as well as a tool kit to take care of basic repairs and adjustments.

In 2018, after a successful pilot implementation of E-Bikes for game guards in Salambala conservancy in 2017, SunCycles Electrics Namibia cc in partnership with the Bicycling Empowerment Network of Namibia (BEN-N) launched a call for donations on the GlobalGiving platform under the title, ‘E-bikes 4 Wildlife Protection’. This project is another milestone on the way to make electric mobility available for rural communities and will assist Community Rangers in protecting the natural environment and wild animals that inhabit it.

The handing over of the bikes happened around the same time as Earth Hour day, the world’s largest grassroots environmental movement that unite people around the world to protect the planet. This year’s Earth Hour sparked up conservations about why nature matters and urged individuals to take action for the environment. The hashtag #Connect2Earth, and in Namibia #Connect2wildlife was used to spread the message on social media about biodiversity and wildlife crime, a message that is complementary to the aim of the E-bike project.

The E-Bikes will be based at the conservancy office, where they will be allocated to game guards tasked with seeing to problem areas around the conservancy, including travelling to areas of human-wildlife conflict, attending to scenes of wildlife crime, and attending to activities that require fast response and can greatly benefit from minimised travel time.

“E-bikes provide a sustainable, fast, silent and cost-effective solution, which helps to ease the physical burden of patrolling by foot and significantly increases the area that can be covered. As a pioneering project for rural Africa, projects like these lead the way to more sustainable forms of mobility and showcase the suitability of E-Bikes for wildlife protection and ranger patrol,” said Marita Walther, Managing Director of SunCycles Electrics Namibia cc.

This initiative will surely go a long way as it will be used by game guards for anti-poaching activities, which will subsequently contribute to combatting wildlife crime, a major concern in Namibia.

Marita Walther

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