On September 7 an enthusiastic group of cyclists took part in a bike race aimed at creating awareness around the threatened African Wild Dog. The event was hosted at the Naankuse Wine and Wildlife Estate in Neuras under the banner the African Wild Dog Mountain bike race.
The estate is situated 80 kilometres from Sossusvlei and covers 14 400 hectares.
Dressed in Wild Dog costumes and armed with a passion for the conservation of the species, teams of 4 raced to the finish line 36,5 kilometres away. A total of five teams took part in the race.
Reflecting the challenges faced by the African wild dog, the teams had to solve a number of quizzes and group challenges along the route. In addition a secret challenge of a Gangnam style dance-off gave racers a chance to win back minutes throughout the race.
Team “Wild Wheels” including team members Daneel and Santie van der Walt and Ezanne and Louis van der Berg won the race, completing the route in 3 hours and 7 minutes. They took home the grand prize of a case of Painted Wolf wines and four custom champion fleeces.
Andreas Brueckner from the NamibRand team won the “Alpha Dog” award for his leadership and spirit during the race.
Team “Painted Pedals” won the best costume award.
Funds raised by the race will go towards the research, conservation and rehabilitation of the species at Naankuse.
At Neuras: Naankuse Wine and Wildlife Foundation, wine production is used to support conservation projects in addition to conservation activities, such as tracking released carnivores.
The Naankuse Foundation rehabilitates and houses injured or orphaned animals in the hopes of releasing them back to the wild. At the site in Windhoek, Naankuse is home to 13 Wild Dogs, which form part of ongoing research projects and awareness campaigns of the plight of the animal, the second most endangered carnivore in Africa behind the Ethiopian wolf.