Cheetah Conservation Fund Rides For Wildlife in Desert Dash

  • by CCF Staff November 29, 2018


Cheetah Conservation Fund Team Rides For Wildlife In Desert Dash

OTJIWARONGO, Namibia (29 Nov. 2018) – On 7 December, a four-man cycling team will ‘ride for wildlife’ by taking part in the Desert Dash, a 24-hour mountain bike race in the Namib Desert. The team will raise funds for a Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) by collecting sponsorships for their rides. The funds will support a long-term research project benefitting the communal conservancies in the Eastern communal areas of Namibia where CCF works.

The four cyclists are very experienced riders; each has completed the Desert Dash before. All are Grandmasters, meaning they are over age 60. The challenging course will take them through 369 kilometres of the coastal desert in one day. The extreme feat will help raise money for CCF’s human-wildlife conflict mitigation research project in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions, long-term study to determine the status of the cheetah, wild dog and brown hyena. The information generated by this long-term study will form the basis for rangeland management and conflict mitigation strategies in these regions.

“We are so excited about the upcoming Desert Dash and proud of our team of CCF Grandmaster Riders! We are also grateful for their support of our work, and we appreciate everyone who is sponsoring a rider”, said Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of CCF. “The research project in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions is critical, as preliminary research has identified the presence of African wild dogs in the area, and we are trying to determine the status of cheetah and other large carnivores, too. CCF staff must present in the area on a continual basis, to advise on-going research and community development work. But we need help to get there.”

People who wish to support CCF’s research and sponsor a CCF Team Rider in the 2018 Desert Dash may visit the link below:

Members of the CCF Cycling Team:

Len le Roux, the oldest of the group and a founder of the Desert Dash in 2005 has done the event 7 times. With more than 60 years of cycling under the belt he is the most experienced Dasher of the group, and he will ensure that the team paces themselves and keeps headed towards the coast. Len has completed the Cape Epic, Sani2C, and the Kalahari Challenge amongst other rides. Len is a co-founder of the Rossing Conservation Trails, the Namibian Environmental Education Network (NEEN) and a long-time friend of CCF’s Director, Dr. Laurie Marker. He is currently the Managing Director for Synergos, a global non-profit that’s deepening trust and collaboration to solve complex problems of poverty and create opportunities for individuals and communities to thrive. His daughter, Nadja le Roux, is CCF’s Community Development Officer.

Dr. Vincent Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Health Information Systems Program (HISP), a global network of people, entities and organizations that design, implement and sustain Health Information Systems. As a network, HISP globally follows a participatory approach to support local management of healthcare delivery and information flows, and was established by the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo. Vince has been riding a bicycle for 55 years now. In his youth, he rode at provincial level track and road, but since then has settled into a more sedentary routine of weekend single track with a dual suspension bike. He is a veteran of about 5 Cape Argus’s, an Epic, a 4-person Desert Dash and 2 2-person Dash’s. As the youngest in this team, Vincent’s role will be to make sure everyone has their false teeth and helmets in place before setting off on each stage.

Andreas (Andy) Brückner, as Director of NamibRand Nature Reserve and Treasurer of GreenSpace, has been cycling for years. He has completed 7 Cape Argus Tours, 5 Desert Dashes and the grueling Otihavera, Wine2Whales and Kalahari Challenge. With his interest in tourism Andy might well find himself being the team tour guide, catering manager, and chief cook and bottlewasher.

Ecki Fryer, comes from a family steeped in the outdoors, and as a geologist has spent over 30 years in the field, mostly in the Kunene Region (Kaoko & Damaraland), but also elsewhere in Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe. He did his MSc mapping the structural geology of the Ugab River, camping in the Ugab on his own for half a year. Through his sons’ interest in mountain biking, an interest in the activity was revived, taking him back to his first second-hand Raleigh bicycle that he bought for R10 in 1975, that gave him endless hours of pleasure, riding tricky tracks in his mother’s garden. Ecki has completed 5 Desert Dashes, and, as the strongman in the team, he will be tackling the difficult stages and “breaking wind” up front.

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Riders from left to right: Len LeRoux, Dr. Vincent Shaw, Andreas (Andy) Brückner, and Ecki Fryer.

About the Desert Dash

The Desert Dash, is an extreme mountain biking event. In the early 2000’s Aiden De Lange and a few friends made a trip through the Namib Desert between Windhoek and Swakopmund in 24 hours. Routes were developed, obscure pathways explored, and by 2005 the first race took place! Departing from the Windhoek Country Club at 15:00 on a Friday afternoon, 44 riders made their way to the Kupferberg Pass to complete the 327km race. Today, the race has grown to a total of 369km between start and finish. Riders have the opportunity to experience Namibian landscapes, up close and personal. Since the first 44 riders who joined the Dash in 2005, the event now hosts over a 1,000 entries from all over the world. While the organisers had initially aimed the event to be an invitation to Namibian mountain bikers to enjoy the rugged landscape, they are pleased and honoured that international riders value the experience just as much. CCF’s rider, Len leRoux was one of the founders of the Desert Dash.

About CCF

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in the research and conservation of cheetahs. Founded in Namibia in 1990, CCF maintains a research programme studying the biology, ecology and genetics of the cheetah and operates the only fully-equipped genetics laboratory at an in-situ conservation site in Africa. CCF has created a set of integrated programmes based on this research that address threats to the cheetah and its entire ecosystem, including human populations. CCF operates from the principal that only by securing the future of the communities that live alongside the cheetah can you secure a future for the species. For more information, please visit


Dr. Laurie Marker, (0) 67 306225 or (0) 811247887

Nadja Le Roux, (0) 67 306225 or (0) 818325764

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