Over the past half century Land Rovers have become synonymous with naturalists and peacekeepers the world over. The Land Rover factory in Solihull, England turned out the first of those famous off-road vehicles 59 years ago and yesterday, the four millionth example of the breed rolled out the plant and into the hands of the Born Free Foundation. Since these vehicles have so often been used explore and film nature, the historic model will be used to help preserve it.
The Land Rover LR3 was accepted Born Free's Founder patron Joanna Lumley and will be used by the Foundation as a Rapid Response Rescue vehicle starting this summer in England, rescuing and releasing stranded marine animals. Lumley is the actress best known for her portrayal of past-her-expiry-date party girl Patsy on the BBC series Absolutely Fabulous.
Related Gallery4 Millionth Land Rover
LAND ROVER DONATES FOUR MILLIONTH VEHICLE TO BORN FREE
May 8, 2007 Irvine, Calif. - Land Rover today passed a historic milestone when the four millionth vehicle rolled off the production line, 59 years after production began at the company's factory in Solihull.
The vehicle, a Land Rover LR3, was donated to the Born Free Foundation, a charity dedicated to wildlife conservation and animal welfare. It was collected by the actress Joanna Lumley, Born Free's Founder patron, and will become a 'Rapid Response Rescue' vehicle for deployment across the UK and Europe.
Will Travers, Born Free chief executive, said, "This important vehicle will enable us to carry out important frontline conservation and animal welfare missions at will. Without Land Rover's support we simply would not be able to reach some of the off-road remote destinations or tackle some of the rescues that are a vital part of our work. "
This summer is likely to see the Born Free Rapid Response Rescue Discovery 3 extensively used by Born Free's partner, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, rescuing, treating and releasing stranded or abandoned marine mammals, especially Common and Grey seals, who frequently get into trouble along Britain's shores during the breeding season.
Born Free has been one of Land Rover's Global Sponsorship Partners since 2002. The sponsorship includes financial and vehicle support in the UK, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. In 2006 Land Rover's support contributed to the rescue and relocation of three lions from a circus in France to Shamwari in South Africa.
Land Rover has pioneered responsible off-roading through its 'Fragile Earth' policy globally and Tread Lightly support in North America for many years and currently works with Earthwatch, Royal Geographical Society (RGS), China Exploration and Research Society(CERS), and Biosphere Expeditions.
Land Rover helps sustain over 50,000 jobs and exports 78 percent of all production, generating substantial wealth for Britain. Since the production of the 3 millionth Land Rover in 2001, an average of 700 cars have rolled off the production lines per day.
Phil Popham, managing director of Land Rover, said, "We are delighted to hand this car over to Born Free. The production of the four millionth Land Rover is a major milestone and it is only fitting that it goes to such a worthy cause. I'm proud of our support for the charity and the company's contribution to both the local and national economy over the past 59 years."
Land Rover North America is part of Ford Motor Company's Premier Automotive Group with headquarters in Irvine, California. Land Rover established operations in the U.S. in 1986, and now imports and distributes Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, LR3 and LR2 vehicles manufactured by Land Rover in Solihull and Halewood, England. Land Rover's worldwide operations are wholly owned by Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan. For information about the Land Rover retailer nearest you, call 800-FIND-4WD or log on to www.LandRoverusa.com.
The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. We rescue animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care.
Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and much more in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Our high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide.
Joanna, Born Free's Founder Patron, was born in Srinagar, India and is one of Britain's best-loved actresses.