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 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?
Southern African Wildlife College, the key partner in this project to develop the best bikes optimized for all the needs for improved wildlife conservation.
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 the ones who make the difference, where the illegal wildlife actions are committed. We’re excited about the progress so far, and very much looking forward to the next steps, continue the optimization, learn and become better.
Why Kalk AP over other vehicles for wildlife protection?
This initiative is based on where CAKE and selected partners that together gathering competencies and expertise to together start to improve a new solution for wildlife protection. Here are some examples:
- Always running, never out of gas.
The inaccessible gas might cause that vehicles standing still, thanks to the mobile solar power, the Kalk AP is always on the roll, with the good range of up to +3 hours riding, enabling rangers to increase presence and effectiveness to counteract illegal wildlife actions.
- Silent operations.
Moving without drawing attention. The lack of sound. Noise is a major drawback, the roaring combustion engines, alerting poachers miles away. Moving without catching attention is an important step towards improved conservation.
- The fastest way in the outback.
Motorbikes are the fastest way to move in the field. Kalk AP features a top speed of 90km/h / 56mph, combined with the ultra-low weight makes the speed superior compared to other bikes, in narrow and technical formats, often the situations where motorbikes today are used. Another plus is the easiness of riding, no gears, if you can ride a bicycle not much training is required, enabling more people to be out protecting land on motorbikes.
- Less maintenance.
No filters, liquids, spark plugs, and few moving parts make Kalk AP easy to handle and limited service is needed.
- Low running costs.
No needs to buy gasoline, or pay for transport of the gasoline. Gasoline is either brought in by truck or helicopter depending on location. The more electric the fleets become, the more budget can be used elsewhere to support various necessities to improve anti-poaching, gear, salaries for rangers, 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, and the platform will be optimized by rangers over time. The goal is the best bike possible for anti-poaching. It’s all about increasing efficiency, 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, which makes 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 important 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 is chosen and used depending on the situation. The advantage with EV’s in the wild is clear, off-the-grid powered, enabling rangers to roll 24/7, always ready without the risk that the fleets are out of fuel and become 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 might move bikes between parks. SAWC is today working 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 gets out of battery the situation is identical.
Bringing a spare battery or spare gas can, takes the same space, similar weight. The amount of time to hot-swap a battery or re-fuel the gas tank is also a similar procedure. The beauty and potential with solar-powered electric motorbikes in the bush. It becomes close to a renewable perpetual machine, increasing efficiency and that make sure the bikes always are 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.