The successful production of the highly anticipated new Land Rover Defender is now more imminent after the model completed a demanding testing program with Tusk in Kenya. The testing process supported Tusk’s lion conservation initiatives in Africa.
A prototype of the new Defender was fitted with an integrated raised air intake and sported a unique camouflage that was designed specially for the area the testing was conducted in. The vehicle was used to support operations at the 14,000-hectare Borana Conservancy, and as part of the testing process was used for tracking radio collared lions and transporting supplies.
As part of this unique test program, Tusk operatives put the new Defender through many real-world tests like instances when the wildlife managers forded rivers, used the vehicle to pull heavily loaded trailers and tackled really challenging terrain. The prototype model was even used as part of an effort to replace the inoperative tracking collar that was fitted to a male lion, after it was sedated at close range from the safety of the new vehicle.
The Borana Conservancy is an area that is notable for geographical features like its steep and rocky inclines, flat plains, muddy river banks, deeply rutted tracks, and thick forests, and thus the new Defender effectively showcased its capability to tackle diverse challenges through these tests.
Nick Collins, Vehicle Line Director, Jaguar Land Rover, said that the company is now in the advanced stages of the vehicle’s testing and development stage. Working with Tusk in Kenya made it possible for Jaguar Land Rover to gather valuable performance data. The Borana reserve served as the perfect environment to test the extreme the all-terrain attributes of the new Defender.
Tusk has contributed to conservation initiatives for nearly 30 years in more than 20 countries spread across the globe. Land Rover has collaborated with Tusk as an official partner for 15 years. The new Defender was used at the Borana Conservancy to support Tusk’s lion conservation program and thus highlight the critical situation that lions across Africa face, especially in view of the fact that Tusk is marking 2019 as the Year of the Lion.The testing initiative also received support from Jaguar Land Rover’s worldwide logistical partner and another supporter of Tusk, DHL.
Three-quarters of lion populations on the continent are in decline and black and white rhinos now outnumber lions in Africa. Less than 20,000 lions survive across the globe in the wild, sharply down from 200,000 in the last century.
Charles Mayhew MBE, Chief Executive, Tusk said: “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 neighbouring communities.The new Defender took everything in its stride, from deep river wading to climbing rocky trails.”
The new Land Rover Defender will make its global debut later in 2019 but potential customers can register their interest early at: https://www.landrover-uae.com/en/defender
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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