Wild Ride across Zambia to Save African Wildlife!
It’s a tough challenge – cycling almost 400km on African roads to raise funds and awareness for the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. But in July a team of four of our conservation ambassadors will get on their bikes and set off on the epic journey, pedalling across Zambia.
The Wild Ride team includes sporting mezzo-soprano star Laura Wright, former South African cricketer Jacques Rudolph and former professional rugby player Harry Rowland, led by DSWF’s education adviser and teacher Andrew White.
The challenge will take the team on a six-day ride through the wilds of Kafue National Park and down to the famous Victoria Falls in Livingstone – calling in at DSWF funded projects, a school and community groups along the way.
Chaperoned by local wildlife rangers, the team will pedal across the African plains, dodging all kinds of wildlife – which could include lions, elephants, crocodiles and hippos! The cyclists will brave mud roads and many challenges, before arriving at Victoria Falls.
“Cycling for six days through national parkland, extreme heat and on very questionable roads, the trip will be a testament to the team’s mental and physical ability and challenge them to a new level,” said Andrew White.
“But knowing we are raising money to make a real difference to DSWF’s work will really spur on our tired legs and keep those bike wheels turning!”
DSWF’s Head of Programme and Policy Georgina Lamb, who is David Shepherd’s granddaughter, said: “This is an incredible undertaking by our brave conservation ambassadors and we are so very grateful for all the time and energy they are putting into this awesome cycling challenge.
“All of us at DSWF wish the team the very best of luck and we hope our supporters will get behind them and help smash their fundraising target. This area of Africa was always very close to grandad’s heart and the money raised by Wild Ride will help DSWF continue his vital legacy, fighting wildlife crime, protecting endangered animals and engaging with communities in the region.”
The Wild Ride team will begin their trip with a visit to the Elephant Orphanage Project run by Game Rangers International (GRI) in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. GRI and DSWF have had a long-standing partnership and will be one of the key projects the team will be raising funds for. The challenge will also raise vital funds for the Painted Dog Conservation project in Zimbabwe, which DSWF has supported for many years.
On July 25 the cyclists will set off on their Wild Ride from GRI’s headquarters in Hook Bridge, before heading out across Kafue National Park to GRI’s Phoenix orphan elephant release and rehabilitation centre 100km away. They’ll then continue their journey through Africa’s second largest national park, before reaching Victoria Falls on August 2.
The Wild Ride team have spent the past six months training for their 400km Zambian adventure. They are:
Laura Wright: Mezzo-soprano, keen sportswoman and a familiar face at worldwide sporting events, singing the National Anthem at RFU, Laura has sung many times in front of the Queen. She lives in Wimbledon with her fiancé and Wild Ride team mate Harry Rowland:
“This mission hopes to bring about long-term change by empowering local communities to make more sustainable decisions when it comes to the treatment of animals. There are no short term solutions, and so we need as many people to get behind us so we can ensure the long term protection of the beautiful species found there.
“I can’t lie – I’m really nervous about it! Singing is my job and it’s a craft I’ve learned and feel quite experienced at, but cycling is most definitely a hobby and something I’m no expert at! However, I know I’m in safe hands and I have the best team mates possible to ride along with – I’m looking forward to watching the sunrise and experiencing the landscape like no other.”
Harry Rowland: Former professional rugby player and now fitness instructor, Harry is engaged to Wild Ride team mate Laura and proud to be supporting DSWF:
“The late David Shepherd moved mountains in terms of raising awareness of these horrific practices carried out in Africa and Asia on endangered species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers. The greatest battle is building the trust and an understanding with the local people of the importance of preserving these endangered species and teaching them how to survive without undertaking such cruel practices. But, there is still a long way to go, and many more mountains to climb.”
Jacques Rudolph: Former international South African Cricketer, who also played for Yorkshire and Glamorgan:
“With the ongoing battle of poaching in Africa and Asia, I am excited and thrilled to pledge my full support to the projects and efforts of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation. I believe that anti-poaching starts with education from grass roots level. We need to educate the younger generations in communities to find sustainable methods to manage our wildlife and support those rangers on the front line.”
Andrew White: Head of Sports Science Sports at Dane Court Grammar School in Broadstairs, Kent and DSWF’s Education Advisor:
“Education is the key for long-term conservation success. If we can continue to excite, develop and grow a greater understanding of the importance of wildlife and its environment, we will be able to offer options and solutions that will empower future generations to live and work in harmony with nature.”
The team are seeking sponsorship from corporate supporters or individuals to help them reach their £75,000 fundraising target.
Your donation will help DSWF to continue to fund critical work with endangered species and communities in Africa. Please contact [email protected] or 01483 272323 for further information and corporate sponsorship opportunities.
The Wild Ride challenge is kindly sponsored by:
- Traveljar – bespoke conservation and photographic travel company. travel-jar.com
- Bandforce – UK resistance fitness training band firm. bandforce.uk
- Lulu Kachoo – luxury London jewellery designer. lulukachoo.com
- Elephant Gin – distinguished South Africa gin distillers. elephant-gin.com
- Schwalbe – international tyre manufacturer who are providing the team with vital product support. schwalbe.com
You can follow the progress of the Wild Ride team on their 400km challenge in July on our social media @DSWFWildlife #WildRide2018 or on our website.