Christian the Lion

Forgive me if this is a little off-message (or is it?), but I can’t help but share this amazing clip. I am always inspired when I see how man and animals can relate to each other, and this story speaks volumes in this regard.

Imagine 1960s London, where Harrods was the famed department store that boasted being able to source anything from anywhere. In the day you could, in all seriousness, order a camel, and be met with the response “Will that be one hump, or two?”.

Two Australians, Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, then living in a very hip Chelsea, London, had to take a trip to the store to see these things for themselves. They were saddened by the sight of two baby lion cubs confined in tiny cages there. Saddened, and smitten. They decided to buy one of the lions – a male. After going through a screening process, they were allowed to take the cub home, where they raised it with much love and attention. The lion, named Christian, would regularly accompany them on outings, even to restaurants, and loved to play soccer with them in the local church grounds.

But, as he continued to grow, they realised this couldn’t go on forever. A chance meeting with two actors that had just finished filming ‘Born Free’ put them into contact with naturalist George Adamson, who soon helped them introduce Christian to the wilds of Kenya.

The footage below is taken on a return reunion trip, a full year after they’d last seen him. Christian was now hunting game in the wild, and was head of his own pride. How will he relate to his former owners? Watch as he comes face to face with his ‘parents’.

Enjoy the clip (Warning: have your hankerchief at the ready….). Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home kids.

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