OLLI Frontier Ride: One man, two wheels and the bigger picture
When Bay local, Wayne Bolton, raised the question in 2015, “What have I ever done to contribute to the sustainability of my environment?” he set off on a 6000 km bicycle journey – cycling to all of South Africa’s 19 National Parks - to create awareness and raise funds for orphaned rhino calves and anti-poaching initiatives.
But if you think that 6000 km, a few flat tyres and sore body parts were enough, think again. Before the dust could even settle on his bicycle after the trans-South Africa expedition, Bolton already started planning his next big expedition to fight rhino poaching.
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Bolton, a Nelson Mandela Bay ambassador, said:
Once again I feel the compelling need to do what I can to help halt the decimation of our world rhino species. South Africa is home to about 95% of the world’s white rhino (approximately 18 000 in South Africa) and 40% of the critically endangered black rhino (only approximately 2000 left).
Since private game reserves hold approximately 25% of South Africa’s rhino population, the One Land Love It (OLLI) expedition this year will connect 20 private and provincial rhino-bearing parks to draw attention to the conservation work that they are doing, to pay tribute to the commitment of their rangers and to raise funds for Care for Wild Africa (a rhino orphanage endorsed by SANParks and the largest in the world).
Wayne, as well as his family, grew up with a deep appreciation and love for the bush and it is easy to grasp why this matter is one close to their hearts when you look at the facts.
In just a decade, more than 7,137 African rhinos have been lost to poaching and in 2016, about 3 rhinos were killed per day. Due to the increased anti-poaching efforts in Kruger National Park there has been a rise in poaching incidents in the Eastern Cape; 5 rhinos were killed in 2014 and 19 in 2016. The situation in KwaZula Natal is even worse with a total 277 rhinos poached in 2015 and 2016 and 99 from the 1st of January 2017 until the 31st of May 2017.
In Wayne’s words: The time has come for the ordinary citizen to move from “caring”, to “doing”.
Bolton also raises another issue:
As much as my focus has been on saving our rhino population, it is clear that the problem is a lot broader than just our rhino. The world has lost three fifths of her vertebrate numbers since 1970 through habitat loss, over-consumption, pollution, invasive species and disease.
The Frontier Ride
The 2000 km expedition will launch officially on the 28th June at the Sun Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth with Mayor Athol Trollip, Chairperson of ECPTA Vuyo Zitumane and Titus Chuene of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism along with other guests in attendance.
There is also the launch of the OLLI #jointcustody Rhino School Challenge in the Eastern Cape that will take place at Grey Junior’s Fun Day on the 29th of June where Wayne, joined by OLLI (the life-size fiberglass rhino) and a group of school children, will cycle out of the school premises.
The route of the Frontier Rhino Ride will traverse through the Transkei into KwaZulu Natal via Durban to finish on the Mozambique border, and on the first day Bolton will cycle out from Kragga Kamma Game Park and connect three other parks as well, Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari and Amakhala Game Reserve. On this day he will be joined by a small group of local cyclists including family, friends and Mayor Athol Trollip, and to set the tone for the rest of the journey and his visits to other reserves, he will address the rangers and thank them for their role in protecting our natural heritage, the Scroll of Unity in Conservation will be signed and a ring will be placed onto OLLI’s horn which will result in the colours of the South African flag by the end of the journey.
The expedition of the 3-Bolton-generations will continue to Tala, the first park to be visited in Kwazulu Natal, while Tembe Elephant Park will be the last park he visits before he continues to Mozambique’s border. The launch of the OLLI #jointcustody Rhino School Challenge in KZN will happen in the first week of August and on his return to Nelson Mandela Bay, the Messages of Unity in Conservation will be handed back to our Mayor and Representatives of Tourism.
Keeping up with the OLLI Expedition
If you visit the website – www.oneland.co.za – you’ll read that Wayne wants to leave the world knowing that his generation has made a positive contribution, that our natural condition is not worse off for us having been here but that we have done all that we can to improve it and have a plan going forward to protect it.
If you want to follow this expedition, be sure to visit the OLLI website where updates, blogs and even vlogs will bring you up to speed with what, were, who, when and how.
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