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Isuzu Challenge
Isuzu Challenge 2003

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The ISUZU CHALLENGE expedition is a joint venture of Isuzu Motors Japan, UMI- Universal Motors Israel and the Geographical Tours Company.

The 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.

Past Expeditions:
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 future success.

The 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.

The 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.

PML Jeep Valve CoverThe 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 in Leh.

The Isuzu Challenge delegation donated solar energy panels for use in local villages, to help prevent deforestation in the area.

The 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.

PML Jeep Valve CoverUpcoming Expedition:
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.

Ecological Goal
Isuzu 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 dangerous. This 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.

The Team
The 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.

The Participants
In addition to the professional team, a limited number of interested individuals are also chosen from a group of highly screened applicants.

The 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.

Past expedition teams consisted of about 55 participants from Israel, Japan, Asia, South Africa, North America and Europe.


Stay tuned to Rockcrawler.com for coverage of this year's Isuzu Challenge!




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