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Coastweek -- Simba is loaded onto the trailer at Malawi Airport ready for the last leg of his journey.

Land Rover Sub-Sahara Africa Helps Bring Simba Home

Coastweek -- Land Rover and the Born Free Foundation have been partners in many ventures involving the welfare of animals but it was Simba’s recent journey from Belgium to Malawi that attracted the most media attention.

Simba, a nine year old male lion, had spent all his years in captivity in Belgium but thanks to the intervention of the Born Free Foundation, together with interested parties in Belgium, it was arranged for Simba to be received as a new resident of the Lilongwe Wild Life Centre.

Here, he would be provided with a spacious enclosure filled with natural habitat that would provide him with an environment which he has been deprived of for all his years.

A journey of more than 8000 kilometres requires a lot of planning but once all the detail had been finalised, Simba was loaded into his purpose-made crate and delivered to Schipol Airport (Amsterdam) from Belgium by a Land Rover Experience Team.

A short-stopover at Nairobi Airport saw Simba relocated onto a flight to Lilongwe where he was greeted on the apron by a huge team of well-wishers made up of Born Free Foundation directors and staff, carers from Belgium, the international press and Land Rover staffers, not least a team from the sub-Sahara Africa office based in Pretoria.


Coastweek -- Simba in his new home, Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, Malawi.

Indeed, transporting Simba from Lilongwe Airport to his new sanctuary on the outskirts of the city had been the subject of much planning by the team from the Land Rover Experience, Kyalami.

Three vehicles - an Evoque, a Defender and a Discovery 4 - had been collected from the nearest official Land Rover dealership, Alliance Motors in Lusaka, and driven all the way across Zambia into Malawi in time to meet Simba and his excited entourage right beneath the Kenya Airways aircraft which had been especially consigned to carry this precious cargo.

It was the silver Discovery 4, complete with the signage of the Born Free/Land Rover partnership, that was assigned to make the journey to the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre with Simba in tow, heading up a convoy of vehicles filled with interested parties eager to learn how the star of the show would settle into his new abode alongside long-term resident Bella, the lioness who hopefully will soon become his companion for life.

Heavy rains had ensured the narrow access roads leading to Simba’s enclosure were decidedly muddy, but notwithstanding the heavy load on tow, the Land Rover Discovery 4 in the skilled hands of team members of the Land Rover Experience, Kyalami, delivered its precious cargo to much applause from the eager gathering.

Indeed, the Born Free Foundation, represented by Marketing Director Anne Tudor, expressed its deep gratitude to Land Rover and to the team from sub-Sahara Africa for the assistance provided in relocating Simba. “This team has driven a long, long way to provide the final link in the relocation of Simba and we are all immensely grateful for the support and commitment shown in helping the Foundation realise its noble objectives.”

In response, Willem Schoeman, Marketing and PR Manager for Jaguar Land Rover sub-Sahara Africa, expressed his satisfaction with the positive outcome of this very newsworthy event, saying: “Land Rover has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the Born Free Foundation and it is a great pleasure for Land Rover sub-Sahara Africa to have assisted in realising one of the stated objectives of the Foundation which is to provide wild life with the best possible living environment.”.

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Captain Mavadia Manoj (L), Kenya Airways pilot who flew the lion from Amsterdam to Nairobi converses with Born Free’s Founder & Trustee Virginia McKenna beside Simba the lion in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Feb. 21, 2014. A lion called Simba arrived in Nairobi on Friday, on transit to Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi from Belgium after Born Free & The Natuurhulpcentrum (Wildlife Rescue Centre) set Simba the lion free on his epic journey to the Born Free-supported Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi. XINHUA PHOTO: SIMBI KUSIMBA


Kenya Airways airlifts rescued lion to back conservation efforts

NAIROBI,  (Xinhua) -- Kenya Airways said Monday it has facilitated transfer of Simba, a rescued lion as live cargo from Netherlands to Lilongwe Wildlife Center, a sanctuary in Malawi via Nairobi as part of conservation awareness.

The airline’s CEO Titus Naikuni said the provision of safe transportation of Simba has reaffirmed the national carrier’s commitment to supporting wildlife conservation.

“I find this an amazing example of how we can connect across the globe to protect endangered wildlife for their return and long- term survival in their natural habitats,” Naikuni said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said the initiative is part of the airline’s partnership with the Born Free Foundation, the global wildlife charity, towards supporting wildlife conservation by rescuing endangered animals and restoring them to their natural habitats.

“Wildlife is our heritage, and its conservation and protection is the responsibility of all of us,” Naikuni noted.

The Kenya Airways CEO said the airline airlifted Simba as live cargo as part of Simba’s 4,900 mile journey.

It culminated into the uniting of Simba with Bella, a lioness that was rescued by Born Free and also transported by Kenya Airways from a Romanian zoo back in 2009.

Simba, who was born in a French zoo in 2005, before being acquired by an independent animal trainer, with whom he has been living for 7 years before his rescue.

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