CHALLENGE expedition is a joint venture of
Isuzu Motors Japan, UMI- Universal Motors Israel and the
Geographical Tours Company.
Isuzu Challenge expedition is an extraordinary experience
for a select team, in cooperation with international environmental
protection organisations, to travel routes to unusual geologic
formations and to encounter rare plant and animal populations.
The expedition offers off-road excitement and intrigue while
focusing on fascinating regional phenomena, and contributes
to the appreciation of, and respect for, surrounding ecosystems
in the hosting countries.
The first expedition, that took place in May 1998 in Namibia
and Botswana, was an immediate success. It accomplished
its goal of educating the Himba Tribe of the adverse effects
that its practices placed on itself and the habitat. The
educational project set out, with the help of the WWF (World
Wildlife Foundation), to dissuade the Himba Tribe from illegal
hunting, and encouraged them to preserve the resources they
once took for granted. In order to ease their transition,
the expedition delegation delivered a 4x4 Isuzu pick-up
truck to the project leader in order to help facilitate
second expedition held in Indochina, Thailand, Laos and
Vietnam in 1999 was developed to support the ecological
project in the Ba-Be National Park which boasts biological
diversity of 354 species of flora and more than 200 species
of animals who face extinction. Isuzu Challenge attracted
considerable media attention by donating a passenger boat
and marine engines to help promote tourism to the reserve.
Now that tourism is more accessible in the region, it has
become a choice destination for charter and tourist groups.
third expedition, took place in March of 2000 in Patagonia
(South Argentina and Chile) in cooperation with Cobel SA,
the Isuzu distributor in Argentina. 52 Participants from
Argentina, USA, Spain, Japan and Israel. Driving 16 ISUZU
4x4 Troopers and Pick-ups competitors visited one of the
world's most beautiful sites. The Isuzu Challenge expedition
contributed toward saving the Guanaco, a key wild mammal,
by helping the local populations of Gauchos understand the
value of the Guanaco and the wool it provides. Isuzu Challenge
provided equipment and materials to establish temporary
pens, which allowed for controlled shearing and encourage
a co-existence with the local Gauchos.
fourth expedition, Isuzu Challenge 2001 was held in June
2001 in the Indian Himalayas, starting in the northern part
of India in Rishikesh. From there, it proceeded through
the Gangas tributaries, and to the Himalayan mountain range,
up in to the Hindus River tributaries district and finished
Isuzu Challenge delegation donated solar energy panels for
use in local villages, to help prevent deforestation in
fifth expedition, Isuzu Challenge 2002 to Mexico and Guatemala
followed the route of the Mayas; RUTA MAYA. The expedition
took place in November and followed a rugged trail, rich
in historic Mayan culture. The ecological target was to
help the fight against illegal deforestation and tree theft
from the rainforests in the northern part of Guatemala.
Isuzu Challenge contributed toward this cause by donating
Iridium satellite communication systems to the local forest
rangers to help advance their communication methods.
This year’s expedition, Isuzu Challenge 2003,
will be in August and will take place in the Australian
Outback. The route promises to be an exciting one beginning
in South Australia then, moving through the Simpson Desert
and north to Queensland and Cape York.
Challenge will focus on its contribution toward an ecological
goal in Australia by donating toward a research project
studying the endemic species of the salt-water crocodile
that is in danger of extinction due to invasion of man into
its habitat. Isuzu Challenge will be donating satellite
tracking systems that will follow the adult crocodile in
the wild. This is the first tracking project of its kind
for this particular species and will contribute toward a
greater understanding of the crocodiles' living habits.
The salt-water crocodile is a huge reptile – shy but
becomes a problem in areas where people dwell because the
reptile always loses. This research project will attempt
to resolve the subsequent conflict between man and crocodile
and thus help prevent the extinction of the salt-water crocodile.
Isuzu Challenge expedition is made up of a group of about
60 participants. Some are professionals in fields relevant
to the expedition such as ecology, off-road driving instruction,
mechanics, media reporting, and still and video photography.
addition to the professional team, a limited number of interested
individuals are also chosen from a group of highly screened
selected team members are then trained in driving under
difficult conditions, first aid, navigation, emergency rescue,
as well as background training on the region of destination.
expedition teams consisted of about 55 participants from
Israel, Japan, Asia, South Africa, North America and Europe.
tuned to Rockcrawler.com for coverage of this year's Isuzu