As mentioned the first batch of bikes are in place and in use. The patrolling team is getting familiar with the bikes, from tuning riding modes to range estimates as well as getting used to the charging and solar stations.
Today we got the information from the SAWC that the bikes have been a part of the first successful anti-poaching acts.
The quiet bikes have been adapted and especially been tested during the night shifts. A new form of poaching has appeared where the bikes have proven themselves as a useful tool - Poachers blind the animals with a flashlight, rehearse dogs to chase the animals down. The hunted animal becomes an easy target for poachers to kill.
A handful of poaching attempts have been stopped the previous days, the exposed creatures in these operations have been different species of antelopes, especially Suni, but also on Red Duiker & Blue Duiker.
Some background on antelopes:
“Suni and the other small antelope are browsers so influence vegetation growth and type at low height levels. They also form prey items for many predators such as leopards, crowned eagles, pythons, etc. When any species is impacted in a system it has a knock-on effect. That is why it is important to conserve systems. Suni is one part of it. If logging takes place it also then impacts the system. Important to have responsible use.”
Prof. Alan Gardiner at the SAWC.
While we're still at an early learning phase every little piece of positive feedback and progress feels energizing.