IN DEFENCE OF NATURE

Land Rover together with photographer David Yarrow and the Tusk Trust in the Borana Nature Reserve in Kenya to support the campaign in favour of lions

A special prototype of the Defender 4×4, one of the most loved and celebrated off-road vehicles produced by the manufacturing company in Gaydon. An established British photographer and committed environmentalist, David Yarrow, who specializes in art, sport and reportage, known for his pictures of remote and unspoilt places and incredible natural landscapes. An association, the British Tusk Trust , founded in 1990 to protect African fauna. All together for the important aim of contributing to tracing and monitoring African lions, almost 20,000 free-roaming animals, even less than the 25,000 rhinos, 20,000 white and 5,000 black, but a population that is in continual and slow decline. Location: the uncontaminated nature of the Borana Reserve in the Laikipia district of Kenya, in central Africa. An exclusive mission that all the participants are intent on achieving: Tusk because of its decision to protect the fauna of the third largest continent after Asia and the Americas; Land Rover – which has always been involved in highly relevant social initiatives in favour of the environment and the needy – because of its link to the country that dates back to 1948 when some pre-production models of the Series were tested in the region; and David Yarrow due to his ability to take soul-stirring photographs of wild animals and indigenous communities, always with the greatest care and respect.

«This is the Year of the Lion for Tusk» explained Charles Mayhew MBE, Chief Executive of the Tusk Trust. «We want to summon global attention to the critical situation of African lions. Fortunately, there are quite a number of prides in the Borana Reserve. Tracing and monitoring their movements in this vast and wild environment is vital for their protection and for reducing possible conflicts with the nearby communities».
The new Defender, equipped with snorkel and characterized by an “animalier” livery, giving it perfect camouflage within the environment, and the Tusk logo, was put to the test in the 14,000 hectares of Borana Reserve. Various types of terrain saw the vehicle engaged in crossing deeply rutted tracks, uneven plains, mixed ground and thick forests, steep slopes and hard rocky outcrops that were slippery to climb, muddy banks and full-flowing rivers. Other tests were also carried out during real, but extreme, situations, such as towing heavy loads and performing daily operations, including sedating a lion to replace its faulty tracking collar. The lion had been sedated at a short distance from a safe position inside the new Defender prototype. Jaguar Land Rover is also flanked by its logistics partner, DHL, in this initiative to help the “King of the Savana”.
«This activity has given us the chance to work with our partners, Tusk and DHL» explained Laura Wood, Head of Global PR Brand & Partnerships at Jaguar Land Rover «and bring the African lion situation to global attention. Moreover, the Borana Reserve offers a huge variety of difficult terrain which makes it ideal for testing the off-road qualities of the new Defender».
For David Yarrow it was also a question of form, style and passion for the landscapes that the Reserve offers. «For naturalistic photography» he commented, «one has to go to the most suitable place – and find the best position for the shot. A vehicle that can reach otherwise inaccessible places is therefore indispensable. The Defender is synonymous of adventure and conservation since the day the first Land Rover made its debut, so it is logical that one of the first tasks entrusted to the new Defender would be in favour of African lions that are in danger of extinction».
With the support of Tusk, the Borana Reserve is operating on strategic areas, supporting local communities, providing environmental education, protecting the habitats, safeguarding species in danger and ensuring that co-existence between man and wild fauna is actually possible. The Reserve hosts some of the world’s most vulnerable species: elephants, black rhinos, African wild dogs and imperial zebras that share the territory with the lions and other large predators.