Hazel Southwell, The Drive | January 28, 2021
One of the many reasons we can’t have nice things, such as the black rhino, is poaching. That sucks, so people protecting the few remaining bits of wildlife not being bought up like tacky holiday souvenirs for super-rich and shameless people need the right equipment. Bush bikes are an incredibly helpful tool to get to animals at risk from poachers as fast as possible, especially where bigger vehicles might not be able to negotiate the landscape.
South Africa Wildlife College, a conservation project in its own right that trains other conservationists, has teamed up with lightweight off-road electric bike maker Cake to make an anti-poaching two-wheeler: the Kalk AP. Weighing only 80 kilograms, or 176 pounds, it pairs a 2.6-kilowatt-hour battery with a simple 11-kW motor that powers a chain drive for up to three hours of running. Every Kalk AP bike purchased by a Cake customer sends one directly to anti-poaching conservationists, along with a solar panel and power station kit that allow the bike to be charged off-grid, wherever patrols need to be most.
Contrary to the concerns in Europe or the United States about grid capacity, for countries with areas that have poor or limited energy networks, EVs can provide a solution to fuel accessibility, and renewables present an opportunity to break reliance on fueled generators. Anti-poaching efforts are already using a lot of tech like drones to make their work more efficient and the Kalk AP represents a way to get a cool, fun bike yourself as well as screw over the likelihood someone gets to kill the last rhinos.
Cake has a lot of experience making fairly crazy off-road weapons, so you can guarantee it’s pretty hoonable. Although it’s not at all cheap at €25,000 ($30,340), it’s not really about the ultimate piece of equipment you’re getting, but the opportunity to give anti-poachers what they need to do their very good work. Only 50 Kalk AP bikes will be made, all of which are numbered, so if you’re feeling philanthropic, it’s a €1,000 ($1,210) deposit to get in on the scheme.
The rhinos will thank you by continuing to exist.