John Hare, 78, who is visiting Australia, head of the Britain-based Wild Camel Protection Foundation and a champion of the critically endangered species; the double-humped (Bactrian) camels of Central Asia.
Will be presenting a short talk, on the Wild Camel Protection Foundation projects;
John’s first job was as Britain's last recruit into the colonial service in northern Nigeria where he served as a magistrate, talked his way past the Chinese bureaucracy in 1985 to visit the Lop Nur nuclear testing grounds to conduct research on wild camels.
''For 45 years, no foreigner was allowed to go in there,'' he says with a smile.
Lop Nur, is among the most inhospitable places on earth: summer temperatures can top 55 degrees; winter temperatures can plunge to minus 40.
The Lop Nur sanctuary is nearly twice the size of Tasmania and devoid of fresh water.
''This remarkable wild camel lives on salt water with a higher content of salt than sea water,'' Hare says of the 600-strong population in China.
Lop Nur is also the site for China's nuclear weapons tests. One might have thought the camels would have been bombed out of existence, but no.
Fewer than 1000 wild two-humped camels survive, making them among the most precariously perched of large mammals in a global race against extinction.
Wild camels are distinct from the double-humped (Bactrian) camels of Central Asia or the single-humped (Dromedary) camels of Africa and the Middle East, later introduced to Australia's outback.
For more than a century, scientists suspected wild camels with their flat heads and small humps were a unique species, but this was only confirmed in 2008 through DNA testing at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, courtesy of hair, bone and skin samples collected by the foundation.
The discovery focused attention on their plight. Or, as Hare expresses it: ''That put us on the map, because a new species doesn't occur every day.''
With money from Australian Peter Hall, the executive director of Hunter Hall International. Hare established a breeding centre in Mongolia in 2004.
The foundation's fund-raising website (wildcamels.com) also shows Hare's ability to tap into England's aristocracy for what would seem an unlikely alliance with an animal renowned for tramping through dust, biting inattentive passers-by and expelling prolific, voluble, malodorous farts.
The charity's life patron is chimpanzee researcher Dame Jane Goodall.
Other patrons hold what seem anachronistic titles:
the Marchioness of Bute, the Countess of Chichester (a trustee of London's Royal Opera House who owns two Bactrian camels), and the Dowager Marchioness of Reading.
While Hare and a trustee, Queensland-born environmental lawyer Kathryn Rae, work for free, the centre racks up $2500 a month in expenses caring for the 28 camels there now.
Simply feeding the animals through the harsh Mongolian winter swallows a further $12,000 each September and involves delivering hay from across 1500 kilometres of dirt track.
It is one of two sanctuaries the foundation oversees, the other being in China's part of the Gobi Desert. That area, known
Trail building season is rapidly approaching and this year we plan to be organised. With almost a doubling of the trail network last year, it’s time to put some love back into the old favourites and make sure the new ones are kept running sweet. We also have a few previously approved trails that we didn’t get chance to build last season. We will be running regular build days from April onwards (rain permitting), both at the weekends and throughout the week. Details are being finalised and will be posted soon, we will also be trialling a few different incentives this season so keep an eye out on the website and on facebook.
In terms of completely new trails, there will be little additional happening due to the restricting “Policy 13”. This policy from the Department of Water restricts recreational growth (including events) within public drinking water catchments, of which the Kalamunda trails are wholly within. In short the policy states that all recreational activities (not just mountain biking but walking, climbing, orienteering, bbq areas, off-road driving, etc..) shall not increase in intensity and that any new trails will not be supported. The committee are involved in numerous discussions with the relevant government departments to clarify what the policy means for Kalamunda’s MTB trails, but at the moment completely new trails are unfortunately off the table. Rest assured though, that the Kalamunda Mountain Bike Collective along with DPaW will continue to work to develop the Kalamunda trails.
A key part of being involved and recognised at these discussions is a strong membership base. We are very optimistic about the future, but need as many people as possible to join up and show their support for the trails we all ride. As such please spread the word and encourage others to join up for free at www.kalamundacollective.com.au
As a large, cohesive organisation representing mountain bikers in this region, we have the best opportunity to be heard and succeed. If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com
Posted by Ian Humphrey, Tuesday, 11th February 2014 @ 8:18am
Tired of getting flats, what more traction and control, like a bike that handles better? If you have answered "yes" to any of these them you need to convert your wheels to tubeless.
The Kalamunda Collective in collaboration with Rock N Roll MTB are holding a free workshop to teach you this coming Saturday 15th at the Camelfarm at 10am (on the new Rock n Roll office deck).
We will supply all tools, advice and help, and have a selection of tyres and parts required on hand.
You may not require new tyres depending on your current tyres, but if you do Rock N Roll will also be having a special on complete conversion kits, at a great price of $160.00 - $180.00, depending on models. They will have 26/27.5/29 tyres in stock.
So come along and see just how easy it is to banish punctures on your rides...
Today's Sunday social ride was a huge success. With over 20 adults rocking up to ride out with the fast group. It was great to see the combining of KMBC and PMBC, with PMBC's President Martin Nugent leading out the ride.
Carine cycles had a huge selection of Giant Trance and Anthem demo bikes for everyone to try. Thanks must go out to Joe and his team for getting up at 430am to get everything set up in time.
The true highlight of the morning was seeing 27 kids ride out with their parents behind Toni Burbidge and Penny Holmberg, making it a total of over 60 people riding together. Thanks to all those people for coming along.
Chris of the Camelfarm provided sauages and fruit platters to refuel everyone on their return. Chris is a YES man and always lets us use his facilities at no charge. Thanks Chris.
The next Sunday social ride will be on the 2nd of March and I'm excited to announce that Mark Wardle of Rock N Roll mountain biking will be assisting Penny with the Kids Ride.
Mark will be giving out tips and sharing his experience along the ride on how to improve the kids' riding skills.
Martin and Ash will be back next month representing PMBC and leading out the fast and medium paced groups.
Final thanks to Kevin Barry Ivan Toni Dean Scott and Penny for all their help setting it all up.
This coming Sundays social rides from the camelfarm will be run in collaboration with Carine Cycles and Perth Mountain Bike Club (PMBC). So if you've ever thought about racing, come along and chat to the guys that host some of the most friendly club races in WA. Don't worry if you don't want to race as these popular social rides, will be just that... Social. With the usual refreshments being provided afterwards.
Carine cycles will also have the full range of their demo bikes there all morning, so come along, say hi and maybe take one of their sweet steeds for a spin. The socal rides start at 7am (fast and medium groups) and 8am (beginner/slow group).
There has been some discussions from members about various races that are coming up in 2014 so to assist you and us in planning for this year we have included races for 2014 on our club calendar. We have also added a printable spread sheet which you can access in our downloads section under 2014 Race Details.
Most of these races are local and are a great opportunity to get more involved in our sport. I know many of you are regular or elite racers and have done these events before which is fantastic. We also have some who are thinking of doing races for the first time this year. Mountain biking is a great sport because at any of these races if you are willing to enter and can ride...you can race! There are different entry categories for elites and opens plus age categories. A number of the endurance races also allow you to team up with mates and race together. Whatever level you are at you can be involved!
Included in the spread sheet is the website contact details for xc & downhill series run by Perth Mountain Bike Club & Peel District Mountain Bike Club for those interested in taking their racing to state level.
Our new junior riders can even get involved this year. Single Track Mind Series are planning on including a free under 12's race at their events occurring after the main race starts and prior to the presentation. The Karri Cup also has a kids race.
As some of these races involve longer distances than most of us do on our average weekend ride or the clubs social rides out at the KC we are considering starting a once a month longer (40 - 50km) social ride depending on the level of interest.
There are many different reasons why people race. Some people are competitive and want to race hard, some are there just to do it and finish, some are there to have fun with their mates...whatever your reason just remember we are ALL here to enjoy the ride!
This weekend the predicted fire danger rating for Saturday will be Severe and for Sunday it will be Extreme. Because of the risk of fire a number of our national parks will be closed over the weekend. This includes Lane Poole Reserve and John Forrest National Park. Also, the Goatfarm gate will be locked from this afternoon. The other mountain bike trails will not be closed but we strongly recommend to riders to not be out in the bush this weekend. If a fire occurs, it will move very quickly and be extremely difficult to control.
Sunday 5th January saw our first Junior Social Ride take place out at the Kalamunda Camel Farm. We had a fantastic turn out with 11 enthusiastic mountain bikers turning up with their even more enthusiastic excited parents.
After a fun loop of the beginner track near the farm to start with to give the kids a chance to see what they were in for and adjust to riding in the dirt we headed off down the start of the Kalamunda Circuit. The rocky section at the start was a little challenging with the kids realising that you give it a go and if that doesn't work you can jump off and run your bike through challenging sections whilst still being able to enjoy the flowing down section that follows. After this we crossed the road and did some more beginner track before jumping onto the tail end of Horny Devil down to the pump track.
At the pump track the kids had a ball testing out their skills. A couple of the juniors attempted the log ride behind the pump track with a lot of success, unlike some of the parents who blamed age & balance on not making it all the way along!
Watching a group of 11 young riders smiling having fun was impressive and exciting. I think us parents watching them got just as much of a kick seeing them enjoy themselves as a group and watching their confidence increase as they rode together.
We headed back to the Camel Farm along the green track to a BBQ & fruit platters that KMBC provided and Shane had spent the morning preparing. The kids sat around eating mostly sausages and very little fruit chatting about their ride and wanting to head out on the trails again!
A fantastic start for our new Junior members (and yes you can sign your kids up as members of our club...they love being part of it and will receive a members stem cap & membership card).
I can't wait till our next Junior Social ride and to be able to watch these kids develop their skills and passion. So if you have a junior rider bring them along and join in the fun. I promise your kids will thank you for it and you may end up with a new ride buddy!