The new Land Rover Defender has completed its final phase of field testing with Tusk Trust, on location in Kenya, in support of their lion conservation initiatives in Africa. Land Rover has been an official partner of wildlife conservation charity, Tusk Trust, for 15 years and 2019 is its Year of the Lion, to highlight declining lion numbers in Africa.
Three-quarters of lion populations on the continent are in decline and black and white rhinos now outnumber the big cat in Africa. Fewer than 20,000 lions survive in the wild globally – a figure that has declined from 200,000 over the last century.
This specially camouflaged Defender prototype was used by wildlife managers to support conservation operations across the 14,000-hectare Borana Conservancy. Borana Conservancy is home to flat plains, deeply rutted tracks, steep rocky inclines, muddy river banks and thick forests, giving the new Defender a chance to showcase its unrivalled breadth of capability.
The unique test programme gave Tusk operatives a chance to put the new Defender through a series of real-world tests as wildlife managers forded rivers, pulled heavily loaded trailers and negotiated challenging terrain. The prototype model was even used to help replace the inoperative tracking collar fitted to a male lion, which was sedated at close range from the security of the new Defender.
Nick Collins, Engineering Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “‘We are now in the advanced stages of the new Defender’s testing and development phase. Working with our partners at Tusk in Kenya enabled us to gather valuable performance data. The Borana reserve features a wide range of challenging environments, making it a perfect place to test to the extreme the all-terrain attributes of the new Defender.”
The overall initiative was supported by Jaguar Land Rover’s worldwide logistical partner and supporter of Tusk, DHL to help celebrate 2019 as Tusk Trust’s Year of the Lion.
The new Land Rover Defender will make its world premiere later this year but you can register your interest early at: Defender Registration Form.