«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.