The new Land Rover Defender has completed its grueling test program with the Tusk Trust in Kenya, in support of its lion conservation initiatives in Africa.
A prototype Defender fitted with an integrated raised air intake and covered in a unique camouflage, which was specially devised for the surroundings, supported operations at the 14,000ha Borana Conservancy, tracking radio-collared lions and transporting supplies.
Tusk operatives put the new Defender through a series of real-world tests in which the vehicle successfully waded through rivers and pulled heavily loaded trailers. 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.”
Charles Mayhew MBE, chief executive, Tusk Trust, added, “This year marks Tusk’s Year of the Lion. Our aim is to raise awareness of the alarming decline in lion populations across Africa. Fortunately, within the Borana Conservancy, there are a number of prides of lion and tracking and monitoring their movements across this vast and tough environment is vital in order to protect them and reduce any conflict with neighboring communities. The new Defender took everything in its stride, from deep river wading to climbing rocky trails.”