Park Rangers Now Have A Stealthy New Way To Catch Poachers – Silent Ebikes


Illegal poaching has likely taken the lives of at least 394 rhinos in 2020, a number that is on track to increase this year. The illegal animal trade is also thought to kill tens of thousands of elephants annually and has left the Grevy’s zebra—an endangered species—with fewer than 3,000 adults in the world. Now, to help solve the conservation crisis, African anti poachers have found an unlikely ally: a Swedish electric bike company.

Because of the petrol-powered bikes they ride, these illegal hunters in Africa are usually able to avoid poachers. However, little did they know that these park rangers are now replacing their noisy petrol bikes with more silent e-bikes. E-bikes are sometimes a nuisance on city roads because drivers can’t hear them even when they are near. But quiet e-bikes are quite efficient at capturing poachers.

“The petrol bikes we’ve used previously have all been loud, heavy, and expensive to keep running in these areas,” shared SAWC (Southern African Wildlife College) anti-poaching team leader Mfana Xaba.

The Swedish company CAKE manufactures these e-bikes. CEO Stefan Ytterborn said they would also donate 3% of their profit from the line to SAWC, as reported by Gear Patrol. The CAKE official shared that his biggest passion has always been his business, designing and manufacturing electric bikes. E-bikes are becoming more accepted across the globe because of the benefits they offer.

Combustion-engine bikes run on gasoline, which can be hard and expensive to access in isolated parts of national parks, often requiring delivery by trucks or helicopters. Combined, those methods cause emissions and pollution, which are also dangerous for nearby animals. The Cake bikes are solar-powered and use charging stations, so their batteries can be charged anywhere in the bush.

It’s still a long learning process for the college, which has had more rangers test the bikes during the pilot, which is expected to last about 24 months, according to Ytterborn. Lately, SAWC reported that “a handful of poaching attempts have been stopped” thanks to the bikes, specifically of different antelope species, including the Suni, Red Duiker, and Blue Duiker species. But Ytterborn says they’ve also reported the clogging of batteries due to the dust and mud, which the company will work to improve.


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