Team Gondwana riding to save the Rhino

Gondwana Conservation Foundation Anti-Poaching Unit - Photo credit: Raquel de Castro Maia

The Gondwana team will be riding the Cape Pioneer Trek, presented by Biogen, to raise funds to continue the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa.

The 7-day race from 15 -21 October 2017 stretches a grueling 572km in distance with an overall ascent of 10,650 meters in and around the Garden Route near Mossel Bay, and they aim to raise R1 000 per kilometer or R572 000 for the Gondwana Conservation Foundation (GCF). The first stage of the race will be traversing through Gondwana Game Reserve and has been named #GondwanaGlory by the organizers.

Devon Naude and Tristan Sandwith from Table Mountain Bikers Club in Cape Town will be slogging it out for 7 days. Devon Naude manages a regional IT infrastructure company in Cape Town, he is a passionate outdoorsman and adventure seeker who has a soft spot for a challenging stage race. This will be his second Cape Pioneer Trek racing for the GCF, a cause close to his heart.

Team Gondwana

Tristan Sandwith is a town planner by profession, but is much more than just a weekend warrior.

Tristan lives for his bicycles –  roadie or mountain and is often seen catching the sunrise on his morning peddle. He is passionate about the environment and ensuring that there is something left for his future children and grandchildren to enjoy. This is Tristan’s first Cape Pioneer Trek.

The poaching of Rhino in Southern Africa, and in South Africa in particular, has been increasing exponentially over the past five years. In 2013 more rhino were killed than born. To combat this increase in poaching incidents, the Gondwana Conservation Foundation launched the Rainbow Rhino Initiative.

Gondwana feels this epic mountain bike race is a fantastic platform to raise awareness for the GCF’s Rainbow Rhino Initiative, which has 3 tactical approaches to contribute to this epidemic. The foundation has established a counter poaching training camp which sponsors courses focusing on tracking, crime scene investigation and drone surveillance. The initiative is developing a core breeding population of rhino from which a custodianship program can be launched, distributing new founder populations of rhino throughout Africa together with trained anti-poaching units. The GCF is partnering with technology companies to create interactive awareness of rhino relocations through the latest GPS and drone technology allowing international communities to follow real time movement and imagery of individual rhino.

The foundation has also played an integral role facilitating all key anti-poaching role players in the region including SAPS, Cape Nature, State Vets, Game Rangers Association of Africa, and the private sector to coordinate rhino poaching crime scene roles and responsibilities.

The cyclists goal is to raise R1,000 per Km or R572,000 for the Rainbow Rhino Initiative. Last year funds raised through the Cape Pioneer Trek helped to complete the anti-poaching training facility on the 11,000 hectare, Big 5 reserve as well as purchase a rhino cow and calf to add to the core breeding population. The funds raised this year would go to securing vital training equipment, including night vision glasses, safety equipment, lecturing equipment as well as subsidizing multiple training courses over the next 12 months. The initiative ran its first training course in February 2017 at Camp Charleston, the foundation’s new onsite training facility. The first course trained eight local general workers in the field of counter insurgency.

The second course in March/April 2017 provided eight individuals with the necessary qualifications and skills to be legal and competent security rangers in protected areas and game reserves.

“Our team will be riding in style this year with a very generous kit sponsorship from Ciovita. Inspired by the cycling passion of Italy.  Ciovita design and manufacture high quality performance cycling clothing. With full in house production at their state of the art facilities their kit is rigorously tested and constantly improved to ensure that you are always inspired to ride.”

Help fight Rhino poaching – In under a decade, 7 134 rhino have been killed in South Africa alone. Rhinos in the wild will be extinct by 2020 if the levels of poaching continue, experts have warned. Donate towards the Rainbow Rhino Initiative and help to make headway against the increasing poaching epidemic to protect our threatened rhino across Africa.

All donations of R1000 or more will be entered to win a luxury safari weekend for 2 at Gondwana Game Reserve inclusive of all meals and game drives worth over R16,000.

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