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Trackers use mountainbikes to locate desert rhinos in areas where vehicles can not go

Trackers use mountainbikes to locate desert rhinos in areas where vehicles can not go

One of the most important reasons for the five-fold increase in the number of black rhinos in the Kunene and Erongo regions, is the incredible perseverance of the trackers working for the Save the Rhino Trust, to track individual animals on a daily basis, to determine their location, status and health.

The trackers operate from the Rhino Trust’s vehicles but the area is so vast and so remote, trackers often have to cover in excess of 40 kilometres per day on foot, to find specific animals in localities that are inaccessible by vehicle.

The conservation and protection of Namibia’s desert rhino would not be possible without the support of sponsors. To help the trackers cover bigger distances, faster, FNB’s investment banking division, RMB Namibia, recently donated eight mountainbikes to the Save the Rhino Trust. The sponsoring partner is Cymot who made the bicycles available at a substantial discount.

Accepting the bicycles on behalf of the trust, its Chief Executive, Simson Uri-Khob, said, “Our trackers operate in remote areas, covering up to 45 km a day on foot. These bikes will make them more mobile, and better able to react quickly to the challenges of protecting rhinos in this environment.”

The trust said it will first do an evaluation of where the mountianbikes will be most useful and then deploy them in specific areas of concern where a faster response can mean the difference between a dead or a live rhino.

RMB’s Conrad Dempsey was upbeat about the trackers’ improved mobility, saying “By experiencing the harsh environment where the Save the Rhino Trust trackers operate, we at RMB have a better understanding of the difficulties they face in their mission to save the rhinos.”

The idea of using mountainbikes to help protect rhinos was born from the very successful Ride for Rhinos, also sponsored by RMB, where only 20 selected athletes participated in a desert race over 160 kilometres, covering four days, through the vast 25,000 km2 range protected by the Save the Rhino Trust.

Understanding the conditions under which the trackers must work every day to protect the desert rhinos provides a strong motivation for us and the other riders who participate in the RMB Ride for Rhinos to become even greater advocates for rhino conservation,” said Dempsey.

The next Ride for Rhinos starts on 24 June 2017.

Pictured are Simson Uri-Khob (left) and Conrad Dempsey, respectively the CEO of the Save the Rhino Trust and the Head of RMB Namibia, at the ceremony where the trust took possession of the new mountainbikes. The ceremony took place in Swakopmund where the Save the Rhino Trust’s administrative headquarters are.

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.