Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust Announces Pilot Project With Rivian Driving Protection of East African Ecosystems & Communities
A few months ago, 4 Rivian R1T pickups caused quite a scene in Nairobi, Kenya. One morning people woke up and saw that videos of the Rivians driving along one of Nairobi’s famous streets were trending on Twitter. This sparked a huge discussion with people wondering how the Rivians had found their way to this part of the world, as there weren’t any known right-hand drive versions of the R1T and there hadn’t been any official news of Rivian’s activity in this region. Well, it turns out that the R1T pickups are part of a pilot project that was finally officially announced today.
The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) announced a pilot project with Rivian, the maker of electric trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles, that is on a mission to help protect our planet and the cultures that inhabit it. The partnership brings MWCT and the Maasai community some R1T all-electric trucks and Rivian’s support to aid in the management of MWCT’s protected landscape and community lands throughout South-Eastern Kenya.
MWCT works to protect the legendary ecosystems and astounding biodiversity of East Africa through conservation that directly benefits local Maasai communities. The world increasingly relies on many traditional communities like the Maasai to protect the ecological treasures that exist within the land that they own. However, the incredible wilderness and wildlife of Africa’s grasslands and the famous culture of the Maasai people both face daunting threats to their long-term survival.
MWCT’s announcement adds:
The pilot project, beginning with four R1T electric adventure vehicles currently at work in the Chyulu hills of Kenya, is enabling MWCT to carry out vital conservation work in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible, including quiet anti-poaching patrols, zero tailpipe-emissions transport for Maasai firefighters and critical on-and off-road rangers’ operations, to health and education programs. In the coming months, Rivian’s new electric SUVs, the R1S, as well Rivian charging infrastructure, will be added to MWCT’s ongoing operations. The use of all-electric, zero tailpipe-emissions adventure vehicles all recharged via a state-of-the-art photovoltaic system enables MWCT to operationalize our mission in a way that puts the planet first. This is another awesome example that shows that solar PV and EVs are a match made in heaven.
“We’re hugely excited by this collaboration with Rivian given their intense focus on addressing our planet’s climate crisis and preserving critical biodiversity,” said Luca Belpietro, Founder and Executive Director of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. “Rivian’s support of MWCT is already playing a significant role here in Kenya, helping us to carry out our work in conservation, education, health, and livelihoods initiatives. The R1T is the perfect vehicle for us — with zero tailpipe emissions and essential features such as electric sockets in the vehicle so we’re able to plug our equipment directly into the vehicles without the need for an external power source. We are proud to have Rivian as a partner to help us achieve meaningful sustainability and provide community services with minimal impact on the Planet.”
“Rivian believes individuals, organizations and entire industries must come together to help preserve our natural world for future generations – and few places in the world so deeply and beautifully embody what’s at stake as those under the stewardship of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust,” said Rivian Chief Sustainability Officer Anisa Costa. “For Rivian, this partnership with the Maasai people is about extending our collective impact – taking extraordinary steps, even before selling a single vehicle outside the United States, to explore the unique opportunities for community-based social and environmental change our trucks and SUVs can help make possible. We feel honoured to be able to put our new tools and resources to work in the protection of some of Africa’s most iconic and important land, wildlife and culture.”
Images from MWCT
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