Wayne Bolton will be jumping on his bicycle again soon to embark on another multi-thousand kilometre ride to save our wildlife and inspire others to make a difference where God has placed them.
In 2015/2016 he completed a gruelling 6 000km ride over 2½ months, taking in all 19 national parks and raising support for the rangers who risk their lives in the frontline of the war against wildlife poachers.
In his upcoming mission in July he will cycle 2 000km in a month, visiting 20 private and provincial parks in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and raising funds for a rhino orphanage which plays a key role in the struggle to save the species which is under siege by poaching syndicates. He will also challenge schools to take responsibility for protecting our natural heritage by adopting a rhino calf.
Three generations of his family — his wife, Nikki, the couple’s parents, and their children Laura and Daniel, who are both students at NMMU — are involved in the One Land Love It (OLLI) expeditions. Wayne does the pedalling and the others provide vital backup. All of them are Christians and Wayne says his faith played a big part in getting him started on the OLLI journey, and keeping him going.
Living life to fullest
“I took a prayerful decision to live my life to the fullest – by following my passions for conservation and adventure.
“When I took a decision to embark on the One Land Love It Expedition in November 2015, I was in place in my life where I was no longer content to let the pressures of life put a damper on me living my life to the full – too often we allow our circumstances in life (often material) to dominate all aspects of our life. We become timid in a way,” said Bolton, who runs a small business with his wife in Port Elizabeth.
He said that two of his favourite scriptures gave him strength and determination during some of the difficult days of his 6 000km cycling expedition. The scriptures are: 2 Tim 1:7 — For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline and Proverbs 20:27 — The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.
“The human spirit God gave us is incredible! A gift – but we need to exercise it. My personal watchwords were faith and courage and I drew on them regularly – as I still do during the navigation of ordinary life,” he said.
Bolton sees his cycling and conservation work as a God-given assignment.
“Quite simply, these are the passions that I believe God put in my life to follow. In many ways my bicycle is just a tool. It has taken me to all SANParks national parks where I had the opportunity to share with the rangers at every single park.
Called to be light where we are
“These men and women are owed a debt of gratitude by us all, often putting their lives at risk to protect our natural heritage. It has taken me into the arena of motivational speaking and public exposure where I interact with people of all walks of life. God places us and calls us to be a light where we are.
“Is there anything more important to the physical survival of mankind than the environment? Mankind cannot survive without our environment. Yet, it is low on the priority list of the human race. The fact is, God created our flora and fauna and saw that it was good (Genesis 1:25). Furthermore, verse 26 reads Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’.
“When we as a human race allow animals to go extinct, we fail to exercise this mandate and we lose a balance. It is incredible that since 1970 the world has lost three fifths of our vertebrates due to the pressure induced by mankind. 90% of our elephant have been lost in the last century. We only have 2000 of the critically endangered black rhino left in South Africa. We need to act now and teach our children to do likewise,” he said.
One of OLLi’s goals is to inspire children to become conservation-minded and to take bold action to impact the world around them. The OLLI #JointCustody Rhino School Challenge which Bolton will promote during his July cycling expedition invites schools to adopt rhino calves and collaborate with other schools — inter-provincially and internationally — in raising funds to take care of them. The calves at Care For Wild Africa have been orphaned by the brutal poaching of their mothers.
“Care for Wild Africa is run by a Christian lady Petronel Niewoudt. Petronel primarily relies on donations to keep the rhino orphanage going – she runs the biggest rhino orphanage in the world and deserves support.
“The poaching of a rhino cow often results in collateral damage. The calf has a strong bond with his/her mother and will often remain with the mother after she has been killed. There are heart- wrenching stories of calves remaining with their mother’s carcass for days – all the while trying to suckle in desperation. The calf sometimes starves or is prone to attack by predators whilst at their most vulnerable.
“Saving orphaned calves saves our future,” he said.
Bolton said he and the rest of the team would also value prayer for protection on their journey, for sponsorships to help cover their costs, and for the opportunity to make a great difference for conservation and in the lives of the people with whom they interact.
Watch a video capturing Wayne’s previous 6 000km cycling mission: