What’s the story behind the Electric Bush Bike Anti-Poaching act?
Watch this video to get the full story behind the initiative.
What is poaching?
Poaching is the illegal capturing, and killing of wild animals.
To get a better overview, this is how WWF explains it:
“Some examples of illegal wildlife trade are well known, such as poaching of elephants for ivory and tigers for their skins and bones. However, countless other species are similarly overexploited, from marine turtles to timber trees. Not all wildlife trade is illegal. Wild plants and animals from tens of thousands of species are caught or harvested from the wild and then sold legitimately as food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist ornaments, and medicine. Wildlife trade escalates into a crisis when an increasing proportion is illegal and unsustainable—directly threatening the survival of many species in the wild.”
Who is SAWC?
What’s the intention for the project?
The intention is to optimize the bikes towards the best possible bike for anti-poaching purposes. Together with the SAWC, there is an ongoing feedback loop. We're listening and improving while the bike is out in the field. The first delivered bikes are already much appreciated as a tool in the field. The intention, over time, is to set a new standard for wildlife conservation—a bike that ticks all boxes, 100% optimized, and developed by those who make the difference where the illegal wildlife actions are committed. We're excited about the progress so far and are very much looking forward to the next steps: continuing the optimization, learning, and becoming better.
Why Kalk AP over other vehicles for wildlife protection?
This initiative is based on a collaboration between CAKE and selected partners, collectively gathering competencies and expertise to create a new solution for wildlife protection. Here are some examples:
- Always running, never out of gas. The inaccessibility of gas may cause vehicles to stand still. However, thanks to mobile solar power, the Kalk AP is always on the roll, with a good range of up to +3 hours of riding. This allows rangers to increase their presence and effectiveness in counteracting illegal wildlife actions.
- Silent operations. Moving without drawing attention is crucial. Noise is a major drawback; the roaring combustion engines alert poachers from miles away. Being silent is an important step towards improved conservation.
- The fastest way in the outback. Motorbikes are the fastest way to move in the field. The Kalk AP, with a top speed of 90km/h / 56mph and an ultra-low weight, outperforms other bikes in narrow and technical terrains, which are often the situations where motorbikes are used today. The easiness of riding, with no gears, requires minimal training. This allows more people to protect land on motorbikes.
- Less maintenance. The absence of filters, liquids, spark plugs, and few moving parts make the Kalk AP easy to handle with limited servicing needed.
- Low running costs. There's no need to buy or transport gasoline. This can save significant resources, allowing more budget to be allocated to other aspects of anti-poaching, such as gear, ranger salaries, and more.
- By rangers for rangers. The bike has been developed in close collaboration with the Southern African Wildlife College and the CAKE product team. The platform will be optimized by rangers over time, with the goal of creating the best possible bike for anti-poaching. It's all about increasing efficiency and convenience and achieving better results thanks to the bike. The development refers to everything from software to accessories and everything in between.
- Mfana Xaba, Anti-poaching team leader: “The petrol bikes we've used previously have all been loud, heavy, and expensive to keep running in these areas. The CAKE bikes are quiet, making it easier for us to approach poachers undetected. We hope this collaboration will result in more effective anti-poaching in our region and we are really excited to start using the bikes in the wild.”
- Kalk AP is one of many important tools. The Kalk AP is one important tool in the anti-poaching toolbox. Just as a combustion engine 4x4 car (still) is an important component, the Kalk AP is one of many essential necessities for successful anti-poaching operations. The Kalk AP will be ridden side by side with traditional combustion engine motorbikes and other vehicles. The vehicle chosen depends on the situation. The advantage of EV’s in the wild is clear: off-the-grid power allows rangers to operate 24/7, without the risk of running out of fuel and becoming unusable.
How long does it take to charge the bike in the field?
From the Goal Zero power bank to the bike battery it takes approx 3 hours (0-100%)
Can you hot-swap batteries?
Yes, the bikes are donated with 1 extra battery, meaning that one battery is in the bike, the additional battery is on charge. Hot Swapping batteries takes about 60 seconds.
Where are the AP bikes located?
CAKE is donating the bikes to the SAWC. The SAWC is choosing where the bikes make the most sense at the moment and may move bikes between parks. Today, the SAWC works with 127 national parks all over Africa.
"The ongoing development with @wildlifecollege towards improved solar-powered wildlife conservation continues. We're pleased to announce that we have our first rolling customers!
This means more news from different parks/wildlife organizations, learnings, and hopefully many successful anti-poaching missions to come."
What happens if you run out of battery in the middle of nowhere?
Nothing new. No matter what is powering the vehicle, when a vehicle runs out of gas or its battery dies, the situation is identical.
Bringing a spare battery or spare gas can take up the same space, with a similar weight. The amount of time to hot-swap a battery or refuel the gas tank is also a similar procedure. The beauty and potential of solar-powered electric motorbikes in the bush is clear. They come close to being renewable perpetual machines, increasing efficiency and ensuring the bikes are always running.
How does the donation work?
A number of bikes are donated to start the project. Every order of a Ösa AP, Kalk AP and AP merchandise supports the project together with Southern African Wildlife College, strengthening its efforts against poaching. In your purchase, 3 percent of the proceeds goes directly to the project together with the SAWC.