The highly anticipated new Land Rover Defender has come one step closer to production, following what Land Rover describes as a “demanding testing programme” with Tusk Trust, who support lion conservation in Kenya.
The prototype Land Rover Defender was dressed in a unique camouflage, which had been specially devised for the surroundings of the 14,000-hectare Borana Conservancy. Within this location, the prototype tracked lions with radio collars and transported supplies.
During this unique test, operatives of Tusk were given the opportunity to put the new Defender to the test - putting it through numerous real-world tests, including fording rivers, towing heavily loaded trailers and handling tricky terrains. Operatives were even able to sedate a male lion from close range from the security of the Defender prototype, before replacing the lion’s inoperative collar.
Home to a mixture of different terrains, including flat plains, deeply rutted tracks, steep rocky inclines, muddy river banks and thick forest areas, the Borana Conservancy was a perfect testing ground. The Defender prototype had its chance to shine, as it effortlessly drove through the conservancy and conquered the different types of terrain.
“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.”
- Nick Collins, Engineering Vehicle Line Director of Jaguar Land Rover
As an official partner of Tusk Trust for 15 years, Land Rover put the Defender prototype to the test at the Borana Conservancy to support the lion conservation programme. With three-quarters of lion populations across the world facing decline, there are now fewer than 20,000 surviving in the world.
Due to go into production at the start of 2020, the iconic 4x4 has been put through its paces in a series of testing exercises around the world, including temperatures as low as -40° C and as high as 48°C, as well as altitudes of up to 13,000 feet.