The support is for a period of five years and Land Rover has sponsored a new Defender 130 Double Cab for the Shamwari team. The Defender 130 Double Cab is perfectly suited to the needs of the foundation as it offers enhanced internal space and the facility to transport heavy loads across difficult terrain. The vehicle is critical to use by the foundation as it is to be used for everything from sourcing food for the animals, carrying water and towing heavy trailers between two sanctuaries that are at opposite ends of the reserve.
Besides acting as vehicle sponsors, Land Rover is also giving members of the Born Free Foundation driver training lessons. This two day extensive training program is being conducted by Land Rover Experience, Western Cape and is educating drivers on various driving techniques, safety and road skills besides vehicle maintenance and ways of minimizing vehicle impact on the environment.
Mark Cameron Land Rover Global Brand Experience Director said: “Over the past decade we have enjoyed a successful and rewarding partnership with the Born Free Foundation, not least in being able to provide it with vehicles that have the strength and ability to work in some of the world’s most remote and demanding environments. We have seen what a difference the Foundation can make, not just in the rescue, care and protection of big cats and many other endangered species, but also in spreading awareness about how people can adapt their lives and attitudes to ensure a sustainable future for man and wildlife alike.
“By renewing our Global Conservation Partnership with the Born Free Foundation, we look forward to helping its teams undertake around the world to continue and extend the excellent work they do.”
Will Travers OBE, CEO of the Born Free Foundation, said: “The Born Free Foundation is on the front line of conservation and wild animal welfare and to get us to that front line we rely on Land Rovers. It is essential not only that we can get in to some truly challenging locations but that we can successfully carry out our mission and get out. Safety, security and reliability are paramount. That is why, on behalf of Born Free and our supporters all around the world, I am deeply appreciative of this renewed support and delighted that our vital partnership with Land Rover continues to go from strength to strength.”
The Born Free Foundation was founded in 1984 by actors and wildlife campaigners Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who were inspired by their involvement in the 1960’s classic film Born Free. Today the charity is led by their son Will and it has become a global force for compassionate conservation. Working on the principle of caring for wildlife in the wild, its activities not only protect some of the world’s most at-risk species, but also raise awareness of how people and wildlife can better co-exist.
The origin of Land Rover’s historic association with Born Free dates back to 1966 when Land Rover vehicles were featured in the classic wildlife film Born Free, starring the Foundation’s founders, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers. The requirement was then as it is now, using Land Rover vehicles to reach wildlife in the most remote locations.
Land Rover’s partnership will help sustain some of the Foundation’s most important projects. In Kenya, a fleet of Land Rover Defenders enables its teams, working with the Kenya Wildlife Service, to reach remote areas to apprehend poachers and remove deadly traps. During times of severe drought, the Land Rovers have also provided a lifeline, bringing food to animals in danger of starvation.
In Ethiopia Land Rover Defenders are deployed as part of the Born Free Foundation’s efforts to protect the world’s rarest wolf species, while in South Africa the vehicles are essential tools for the team at its two Big Cat Rescue Centres, based at Shamwari, Eastern Cape. Further support vehicles help make a difference in Malawi, where the Foundation helps rehabilitate monkeys rescued from the illegal pet trade, and in Sri Lanka, where a specially-modified Defender is able to reach and rescue orphaned baby elephants and other animals from the most challenging locations.