KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — After winning a contest in November, the Appalachian Bear Rescue has received their prize of a new Land Rover Defender 130 SUV. A new partnership to provide more bear education was announced along with the prize presentation.
Leaders from Appalachian Bear Rescue were invited to Land Rover Knoxville on Feb. 21 to receive the SUV. In Nov. 2022, the nonprofit organization was named the winner of Land Rover’s 2022 Defender Service Award, presented on Nov. 22 in the category of animal welfare, earning the brand-new vehicle and a $25,000 cash prize.
“We first found out about the Defender Service Awards contest last August. I had ignored some emails because they just said you can win a Land Rover and I thought, ‘sure, you can win a Land Rover. I could win a lot of things.’ Finally, one of those emails said something about Defender Service Awards and I realized that I probably messed up and that we probably could win a Land Rover,” said ABR Executive Director Dana Dodd.
In a video made as part of the contest, ABR Lead Curator Coy Blair explained that the new SUV would help them get to more injured cubs in hard-to-reach areas.
The price of a 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 starts at $68,000, according to Kelley Blue Book. A review on Kelley Blue Book’s website called the vehicle, “one of the most capable off-road SUVs money can buy.”
The Land Rover also comes with three years of free maintenance and is big enough to fit two bear cub cages. The vehicle was also customized for ABR’s needs, according to Land Rover Knoxville.
“We’ve never had a vehicle that was so official with our name on it. It looks incredibly cool,” said Dodd.
During the event, Land Rover Knoxville announced a long-term partnership with ABR. They have agreed to sponsor its membership education series, a program to teach animal welfare, and conservation and raise awareness of all things bears.
“One of the things we are most excited about is this isn’t just about a car, it’s about expanding the relationship with the Appalachian Bear Rescue and so today we’re announcing that Land Rover Knoxville is going to be partnering to be a part of the Member education series,” said John Tolsma with Knoxville Land Rover.
ABR is most known for its care of orphaned and injured black bear cubs so that they can return to their natural habitat. The nonprofit also works to increase public awareness about living with black bears and studies all aspects of returning cubs to the wild.