Cycling Zim's entire border for anti-poaching

HARARE - Three local cyclists have teamed up with leading Zimbabwean motor company Dulys to stage a 3 600km ride along the entire border of Zimbabwe in an anti-poaching awareness initiative.

Dubbed “Zim-boundary Cycle Challenge Against Poaching”, the gruelling ride, to take approximately seven weeks, is being funded by Dulys in an effort to raise awareness and funds to combat poaching and wildlife crime.

The three cyclists are Linda Davidson, one of Zimbabwe’s most recognised female riders, alongside male counterparts Ashley King and Mike Grey.

King represented the team at a lunching ceremony yesterday.

“I cycle mainly as a hobby, I’ve been doing it for years,” King said, adding:

“The inspiration (to ride for anti-poaching) was from a guy in South Africa who rode across Africa. We said we could do the same in Zimbabwe. We face a serious poaching challenge.

“We have a passion for our heritage and wildlife. The people working against poaching are facing serious challenges. National Parks is underfunded. We thought we could do this and raise funds for organisations working in anti-poaching programmes. These are the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching (VFAPU), the Tikki Hywood Trust and the MAPP.

“We really felt they could benefit from us doing this. We want to raise funds and create awareness, not just for wildlife poaching, but other forms of poaching as well.

“We will start in Honde Valley and go clockwise down the bushtracks on the border of the country. 

“The journey will last 3 6000 kilometres, it should take us seven weeks, 100 kilometres a day. We will ride for six days and rest one day. 

“We have been granted permission by the National Parks and Wildlife to ride in their parks. This is quite challenging. We will also rely on the community to source food and water.”

The punishing ride will start on Sunday in Honde Valley on the eastern border of the country.

“This won’t happen without people like Dulys,” King added. “That won’t be possible. Without them we are just a bunch of cyclers. We are hoping that this becomes an annual event.”

Quipped King: “We will be riding in some abattoirs, so after seven weeks there might be a bicycle for sale because I will be tired of it!”

Mark Vickery, Dulys’ managing director, said his company’s involvement was motivated by a passion to preserve nature, having also been involved in the Save the Rhino campaign.

“Social responsibility is a big thing for us,” said Vickery. “As Dulys we feel we have a duty to the give back to the community and the environment.”

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