Land Rover helps return mistreated lion to his home

Jaguar Land Rover has completed a Born Free-style bid to return a mistreated lion to his African homeland.

A six-strong convoy of Solihull-built Land Rover Discoveries, backed by an expert team from the 4×4 specialist, worked with the Born Free Foundation to help take Simba back to Malawi. The lion was six-months-old when he ended up at a zoo in France and, just two months later, he was acquired by an animal trainer in Vernay in the Loire district.

Simba was confined to a lorry trailer with only occasional use of a small outside run before the French authorities stepped in and he was taken to a rescue centre in Belgium. Now he has been returned to Malawi after the Discoveries transported the lion to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Simba, aged nine, will see out his days in a large enclosure at the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary.

Land Rovers were featured in the classic 1966 wildlife film Born Free, starring the Foundation’s founders, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers.

Jaguar Land Rover global brand experience director Mark Cameron said: “Born Free worked tirelessly to ensure Simba enjoys the rest of his life in his new home. I am very proud that, through the towing capability of our vehicles and the experience of our Land Rover Experience drive team, we helped this become reality.”

Virginia McKenna said: “The public’s generous response to his situation was quite amazing. I am very grateful to Land Rover for its support and was fortunate to accompany Simba to his new home in Malawi. I know he will be beautifully cared for and will live the rest of his life in a natural bush enclosure.”

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