A fish might not need a bicycle, but this bird sure does! What in the world is a bird going to do with a bike? Thrive to survive. Bikes for the World is excited to announce that we have just partnered with Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA) and already have a container of bikes on the way to them. Just how the bikes will be used within the organization will evolve as the program expands, but they already have a good operating plan in place and pressing needs...one that involves the Grey Crowned Crane you see above.
The Grey Crowned Crane can be found in several African countries (even on the flag of Uganda), but it is the only species of crane found within Rwanda. Despite being a symbol of longevity in Rwanda, the existence of the Grey Crowned Crane in the country is threatened due to habitat reduction and a growing illegal trade. The combination of population density and extreme poverty within Rwanda has sent this bird closer to extinction.
Once thought the most common crane in Africa, the Grey Crowned Crane has experienced a shocking decline over the past 5 decades with the global population declining by up to 80%. During a National Crane Census in 2017, less than 500 Grey Crowned Cranes had been sighted in Rwanda. In comparison, there are nearly 300 Grey Crowned Cranes held, illegally, in captivity- some by hotels, wealthy families, etc.
RWCA exists to address critical conservation issues and create sustainable solutions to protect wildlife and natural habitats through education and awareness programs in the community. RWCA is using a holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to reverse the declining trend of the endangered Grey Crowned Cranes in Rwanda, with a focus on stopping the illegal trade. RWCA is also working to reintroduce captive cranes back into their natural habitat. The goal is to have NO captive Grey Crowned Cranes in Rwanda.
The bikes donated through Bikes for the World will be given to RWCA marsh rangers and Community Conservation Champions. Both groups work to monitor the Grey Crowned Cranes in their natural habitats and strive to educate the community about the changing environment and illegal activities that threaten the species. Regularly checking on the cranes covers a good deal of ground and the bikes will assist this team in that process.
The crew of staff and volunteers came up with the idea of using bikes as an environmentally friendly way to improve the impact of their work. Patrolling an area on foot is not possible in one day. By introducing bikes as a monitoring tool, they hope to cover more ground more often to ensure the safety of these birds and especially their chicks. They will also be able to respond more quickly to reports of poachers or someone illegally cutting grasses or trees.
Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new partner throughout the year as our bikes arrive and get introduced into the wildlife program...