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Three Day Ride
Joe Pietersen urges support for uBhejane Xtreme MTB challenge
13th November 2018
Rugby player Joe Pietersen has appealed to athletes and conservation-minded sports fans to join him in riding the uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge in early December to contribute to the fight against Rhino Poaching. Pietersen, who was a star backline player for The Sharks and Stormers and now plies his trade overseas, is heavily involved in conservation himself, through a game reserve near Hoedspruit where he drives his Nkombe Rhino campaign to protect rhinos from poachers through a rolling dehorning and relocation programme. “It is something very close to my heart, so I didn’t hesitate when I heard about the uBhejaneX ride as a way to get involved,” he said. Pietersen said that he had followed the early years of the uBhejaneX and it was a discussion with Stacey Holland that spurred him to take part. “I am still fit and playing rugby, but the long ride will be a different ball-game. I have entered the 100km ride and, with a huff and a puff, I will get there!” he added. “Full respect to the guys and girls doing the 250km and 340km rides. I head over to the States to take over as a coach/player at a major league rugby team there, so the 100km is what I have set myself up for this year,” he said. “It is not a race so people shouldn’t feel intimidated,” he went on to say. “The pace will be steady and by riding on roads and as a group, it is quite do-able. “I would really like to encourage anyone with any sort of fitness level, and a passion for protecting our rhino, to join me on one of the rides, whether it is the three day ride, the iconic 340km one day ride, the 250km, the 100km or the short ride from the Rhino statue at Hluhluwe to Hilltop camp on Saturday afternoon,” he appealed....
The Last Three
9th November 2018
On the uBhejaneX jersey there is a graphic of three rhinos. Ever wondered about the story behind this classic image? They are from a painting called ‘The Last Three’ by Karen Laurence, an award winning wildlife artist who lives in Nairobi. The Last Three was a painting that Karen donated to Helping Rhinos to help raise funds for the three remaining northern white rhinos who resided at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. The original painting sold for £19,000 at our auction in March 2016 and the 50 limited edition prints also sold out on the night. Front and centre of the painting is Sudan, who was the last male northern white rhino in the world. Unfortunately Sudan died on 19th March 2018 of age related conditions. This means there are now just two northern white rhinos left in the world (the other two on the jersey). On the left of the jersey as you look at it Najin, Sudan’s daughter, and on the right is Fatu, Najin’s daughter. There is a video of the painting of Karen’s ‘The Last Three’ which you can see here: https://youtu.be/j8aQRYCbXrI You can also read more about Sudan (as the prominent rhino on the jersey) here: www.helpingrhinos.org/sudan-tribute...
Cochran aims to take uBhejane Xtreme MTB challenge even further
8th November 2018
Having done his first uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge last year, Hillcrest cycling enthusiast Ewan Cochran has set himself a massive target of completing 2000 km on a bike to contribute to the annual Project Rhino fundraiser. Cochran, who is more a road racer than a mountain biker, toughed out the 250km ‘Short Horn’ ride last year in testing heat, winds and ultimately thunderstorms, and the 46 year-old returned determined to do the ride again in 2018 as a personal challenge. “I wanted to set myself a challenge,” he explained. “Whether you do the full 340km or the 250km ride, it is a long day in the saddle and a personal achievement to complete. “Project Rhino is a great cause, so I decided to set a goal of completing 1 750km in training for the ride, and then the 250km of the actual ride to take me to a 2 000km uBhejaneX. “It is a cunning plan to try and make a meaningful contribution to the Project Rhino fundraiser,” he added. “I am not very good at this fundraising thing, so I am asking people to donate 20 centres per kilometre, which will only come to R400 when I complete the 2000km. ”Everything I do in training is there on my Strava account so anyone can check that I am doing the miles!” he chirped. Cochran’s gruelling training regime involves three days training on an indoor static bike at Cadence Cycling Performance Centre in Hillcrest, doing 60 kilometres a day, and then riding 50km each Friday, 100km every Saturday and 60km on Sunday. “Then I head for the couch for a day,” he said. “It is a personal challenge, but the fundraising side is suddenly taking off and become a double motivator for me, because I know feel that every kay I ride is making a difference to the Project Rhino programmes, which keeps me going.” He can be reached via his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ewan.cochran...
Epol weighs in behind uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge
6th November 2018
As entries continue to stream in for the various rides that make up the tough uBhejaneX MTB Challenge to support rhino conservation on Saturday 8 December; the event has welcomed a huge donation that will help keep orphaned rhinos and horses used by the innovative anti-poaching units fed for the next year. The donation by Epol will provide around R56 000 worth of specialised food for the seven orphaned rhino being cared for at the Zululand Rhino Orphanage and the 32 horses that make up the Project Rhino Horse Units. The horses play a major role in dealing with poachers in several reserves, including Imfolozi, Mawela, Spioenkop and Tugela Game Ranch. “Epol is proud to be involved in Project Rhino and the Rhino Orphanage, initiatives which serves to protect and conserve our precious rhino population,” said Wouter de Wet, RCL FOODS, Business Unit Director Animal Feed . “Last year forty rhinos were lost but after the establishment of their mounted anti-poaching unit these losses have been reduced to two. “Any loss is tragic and we are honoured to be able to play a part,” de Wet added. The Zululand Rhino Orphanage was born out of tragedy when a regional rhino orphanage was attacked by poachers in February 2017, forcing its closure. The Zululand Conservation Trust stepped in and built bomas and housing facilities for the two adult rhinos and three young orphaned rhinos, Makhosi, Isomiso and Ntoto. The Zululand Rhino Orphanage’s mission is to return all of orphan rhinos back into the wild. The Project Rhino Horse Units have made a major contribution to the fight against rhino poaching since the horseback patrols were introduced. Mounted rangers are able to patrol off-road and have a higher vantage point, helping them to see above the long summer grass. Horses are quiet and extend the daily patrol from 10km on foot to 30km on horseback. As a result, rangers are far less fatigued when contact with poachers is made. Response time is much shorter for a mounted ranger, thereby improving the chances of a poacher’s apprehension before a rhino becomes a statistic. Mountain bikers keen to support the uBhejaneX initiative can opt to ride the iconic 340km from Hillcrest to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe in one day, or the shorter 240km 100km and 35km rides, as well as the new three day ride over the full distance....
uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge adds three-day ride
11th October 2018
The uBhejane Xtreme MTB Challenge between Hillcrest and Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe has added a three-day ride to its list of events in its annual rhino conservation fundraiser, with the three stage ride starting on Thursday, 6 December, and finishing with all the other one day rides on Saturday 8 December. The uBhejane Xtreme was always an iconic 340km ride for rhinos that prided itself on the fact that it was a challenge, an event that not all riders would be able to finish. It was a challenge that raises thousands of rands for Project Rhino, committed to protecting rhino from poachers. “We had quite a few requests from people that wanted to take part in the event but didn’t want to do in just one day,” event organiser Cliff Wills mentioned. “At the moment we have around thirty people that want to do the three day event and we haven’t really done much to promote it so those numbers should rise.” The route for the three-day event will take a different route to the one day event with riders being treated to a ride through the Inanda Valley on their way to the first overnight stop in Zinkwazi. Taking in the sights and sounds of the KZN North Coast is a part of the event that Wills hopes all riders embrace. “There is some beautiful scenery along the first stretch from Hillcrest to Stanger. The riders will have great views and good trails to ride on the first day of the ride – even though it isn’t going to be too easy considering it’s over 100km. “It is not a race at all so I hope that riders will take some time to enjoy their surroundings and get to know the other riders in the group – we want them to have a good time! “Riders are going to be stopping off at local shops along the way to refuel so we want them to enjoy the experience throughout,” Wills added. The second day will take riders to the Canefields Country House near Richards Bay and then the final day takes riders to Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe. The event is geared towards raising funds for Project Rhino and to grow awareness of the plight of rhinos throughout the north of KwaZulu-Natal. “We want riders to have a great time but we need them to understand the importance of the event in tackling the pandemic of rhino poaching. “Ultimately our aim is to raise as much money as possible for Project Rhino but also to spread the awareness as far and as wide as possible,” he explained....
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