These electric bush bikes are designed to help stop African poachers

David Booth

The Cake Kalk AP electric anti-poaching motorcycle
The Cake Kalk AP electric anti-poaching motorcycle PHOTO BY CAKE

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I think it’s probably safe to say that everyone reading this news piece hates poachers. Anyone who would kill an endangered animal just for its trunk or horn would seem the lowest species of man.

Like you and I, Stefan Ytterborn also hates poachers. Unlike you and I, however, he’s doing something about it. That’s because Ytterborn is the founder and CEO of Swedish electric bike manufacturer, Cake, and he’s about to make a significant contribution to the protection of endangered species in Africa.Tow Review: 2021 GMC Sierra Denali 1500

No surprise, motorcycles are the favoured mode of transportation for the game wardens and rangers looking to flush out poachers. Faster and more economical than even the most rugged of SUVs, their small footprints mean those hunting poachers can go where Jeeps fear to tread.

Unfortunately, most of the motorcycles being used are ancient beasts which means that not only are they thirsty — all the gas they require needs to be trucked or flown in — they’re also noisy. Not only do they scare the local wildlife, they also alert the poachers to their approach.

Enter the Cake Kalk AP (Anti-Poaching). Basically a low-tech version of Cake’s already rudimentary electric motorbike — the suspension and software are simplified for enhanced reliability and reduced maintenance out in the brush — the AP is relatively speedy, its 13.5-horsepower electric motor good for almost 80 kilometres an hour, with a range of 80 klicks.

It’s as basic as a motorcycle gets: a heavy-duty frame houses battery and electric motors, while 18-inch rims ride on 3.5-inch-wide off-road knobbies. Most importantly, it’s silent, making it stealthy as well. “The petrol bikes we’ve used previously have all been loud, heavy, and expensive to keep running in these areas,” says Mfana Xaba, an anti-poaching team leader. “The Cake bikes are quiet, which makes it much easier for us to approach poachers undetected. We hope this collaboration will result in more effective anti-poaching in our region and we are really excited to start using the bikes in the wild.”

Based on the Kalk OR, the AP’s special features include a rear rack designed to carry arms; a powerfrul LED light so the rangers can patrol for poachers and illegal traps at night; and Cake has developed a first-aid kit designed to treat injured animals in the field that can be carried on the Kalk.

Cake is also teaming up with Goal Zero, which will be supplying a mobile solar-charger to recharge all those lithium-ions. In fact, in its quest to makes as many as 50 of the APs available to various game preserves throughout the African subcontinent, Cake and Goal Zero have come up with a program which will sell a package of two electric bush bikes and the mobile solar power station for €25,000 (CDN$35,934), a reduction of €7,000 (CDN$10,063) off their individual pricing.

The first two APs are currently being tested by the Southern Africa Wildlife College near the Kruger National Park in north-eastern South Africa. Cake and Goal Zero are still looking for charities to step up and donate bikes to underfunded ranger organizations. Sounds like a perfect opportunity for someone to start a GoFundMe page, don’t you think?

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