Conservationists have set off from Land’s End to cycle to John O’Groats as part of a 30,000-kilometre global riding challenge.
Ride 4 Rangers – a group formed from representatives of the UK-Africa travel industry and the conservation group Tusk – want to complete a cumulative distance of 30,000 kilometres (18,641 miles), which is the equivalent of circumnavigating Africa.
The amateur cyclists left Land’s End on Saturday and are inviting hundreds of fellow Africa travel industry professionals and conservation lovers to join them during the 874-mile ride to Scotland.
A small team of riders is undertaking the challenge to raise more than £100,000 and highlight the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had upon the Africa’s entwined conservation and tourism industries, including a rise in poaching.
The fundraising is being matched by the Scheinberg Relief Fund up to five million US dollars (£3.8 million) and the money will be used to support the salaries of rangers working in wildlife reserves across Africa.
Other events are simultaneously taking place across Africa and the organisers are also urging other people to join them by riding virtually at home, in their garden or at their local park.
The riders are aiming to finish in John O’Groats on August 29.
Charlie Mayhew, chief executive of conservation charity Tusk, said: “As we come out of lockdown we are starting to realise the effect of Covid-19 across the world, and no more so than in Africa where the economic impact of the global shutdown has been devastating, with the tourism and conservation sectors starved of vital revenue required to protect both wildlife and livelihoods.
“We are delighted to support this inspiring challenge.
“It is wonderful to see the drive and energy of the UK-Africa Travel industry coming together to raise valuable funds to keep rangers on the frontline – recognising the extraordinary bravery and commitment they demonstrate on a daily basis in the protection of our natural world.”
Chris Mears, chief executive of the African Travel and Tourism Association, added: “The interdependence between travel and conservation in Africa has been thrown into sharp relief.
“I applaud every effort being made by my fellow Africa travel professionals and supporters in helping protect the livelihoods of rangers on the frontline who play such a vital role in ensuring the safety of Africa’s wildlife.”
– For more information about the challenge and to take part visit ride4rangers.com