Dubai, UAE: Cycling 6,000km around a school foyer for Dubai British School (DBS) students until April 30 is a great challenge.
But those who have taken up the task are confident they will finish in order to raise funds for their very own expedition this summer to conserve wildlife and ecosystems in Africa.
Four students, led by their geography teacher, David Wright, will have a life-changing experience once they reach South Africa as they explore wildlife in Kruger National Park and Sodwana Bay — two sites where they will engage in a camping expedition of sorts for two weeks.
Hundreds of students, including DBS school staff and security guards took part in the ‘Cycle to South Africa Challenge’ on Sunday to support the help the four students and their teacher make a difference in other communities.
“We are trying to complete 6,000km of cycling, which is equivalent to the distance from Dubai to South Africa by flight, to raise approximately Dh60,000 for this expedition. It is a great opportunity for our students to travel to help other communities find ways to solve conservation issues,” said Wright.
The first week will be spent in a lodge at the National Park, Wright said, where they will be looking at large herbivore species and tracking them “while also looking at conservation management of elephants”.
“The second week will be staying at a camp site next to Sodwana Bay. The students will be diving there and also looking at conservation management of the reefs in the Indian Ocean,” said Wright. “We will be working closely with other groups and students from around the world who are also going to be part of the expedition organised by Operation Wallacea.”
Wright said moving from Dubai to a remote location with different life conditions is going to be difficult, but collecting accurate data matters the most to them.
“I’m hoping the four students will come back and educate others here.”
Samantha Jones, 17, from England, said she couldn’t feel her legs after cycling for two and a half hours yesterday around the school foyer, “but I guess it’s an adrenaline rush and the support that is pushing us forward.”
“It’s exciting to travel to South Africa for the first time to learn about the biodiversity of the place and how animals live there. Conservation of elephants will be our main focus, but we will also try to find out how sustainable they are in the park. My only fear is diving into the Indian Ocean because I’m very scared of sharks.”
Elizabeth Keily, 17, from Australia, said she will do her best to raise funds for the event by holding activities and cycling whenever she can.
“I’m very excited to learn about the ecology and nature in South Africa. I’m just a bit worried about the living conditions because we won’t be staying in hotels but at camping sites which probably won’t have proper showers and no electricity.”
© Gulf News