These solar-powered silent electric motorbikes are changing the way that South African rangers are catching poachers!
South Africa (19 December 2021) – Anti-poaching initiatives are beset with challenges – funding shortages, infrastructural hurdles (due to often remote rural locations), and the evolving and sophisticated tactics of poachers.
It takes innovation and contextual solutions to support the programmes that protect wildlife.
In a new cross-border collaboration, Swedish electric road bike designer CAKE has partnered with the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) and Goal Zero to create a solar-powered silent electric motorbike to help anti-poaching units protect Africa’s endangered species.
“It is essential for the conservation industry to embrace new technologies for innovative conservation solutions,” Theresa Sowry, CEO, Southern African Wildlife College, said.
Founded in 1996, the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) has been empowering people working in conservation to manage and conserve some of the world’s most biologically diverse areas.
It has trained over 18,000 people within the conservation and environmental sectors. This includes natural resource managers, wildlife law enforcement officers and monitors, field rangers, field guides, youth wanting to bridge into the conservation and environmental education sector, youth involved in environmental services, and members of local communities, amongst others. In addressing some of the current conservation challenges via its training mandate, the College has internalized a learning-by-doing inclusive and holistic approach for improved conservation practice and impact.
Poaching has devastating consequences for all wildlife all over Africa. In some instances, it is the primary reason why a species faces the risk of extinction. Contrary to general perception, one of the strongest reasons for poaching is due to poverty and the need for food among local inhabitants.
Areas with widespread poaching are often large, remote, and lacking roads, making patrolling by car virtually impossible. Recently, anti-poaching teams have started using dirt bikes for patrolling; and it has proven to be highly successful. These bush bikes, however, run on gasoline. And, depending on the location, this fuel is brought in by truck or by air. Although the motorcycle approach has proven highly successful, the roaring motorcycles unfortunately alert poachers miles away, decreasing the chances of catching them.
Silent electric motorbikes are taking the “cake”
With CAKEs electric off-road motorcycles, the level of efficiency in catching poachers will skyrocket due to the ability to quietly approach the poachers. And, to further increase the overall obligation toward sustainability and environmental responsibility, the specially tuned bush bikes will be charged by solar power.
With every bike, there will be a solar panel and power station kit that will enable these bikes to operate in the African bush—independent from the electric power grid—on an endless, self-sufficient mission to protect wildlife.
“It is somewhat unreal how the sun and solar power, together with the technology of these silent off-road motorbikes, can serve as something of a perpetual machine that works toward the general obligation of sustainability and, in this specific instance, to serve the purpose of saving species from extinction,” Stefan Ytterborn CEO of Cake explains.