Christian is a lion who has become famous after the video of his reunion with his rescuers went viral. But this is a long story with many details that are worth knowing… Let’s go there!
There is even a documentary entitled Cristian, the lion, which tells the story of Cristian and the two men who bought him one day in London in 1969.
At that time London was an ideal destination for many Australians, including John Rendall and Anthony “Ace” Bourke.
The now well-known Harrods department store was said to be a place where you could buy almost anything, from a pin to an elephant. So much so that the store even had its own zoo, where you could buy aniamals, such as lions.
Rendall and Bourke bought Cristian, the lion . They cared for Cristian with the help of their friends Jennifer Mary Taylor and the Jones unit, until he was one year old.
As the lion grew older, its maintenance and care became more complicated. After his first birthday, he was moved to a furniture store. They then obtained permission from a priest to leave Christian in a church cemetery…. But the situation was getting more and more complicated and the cost of keeping a lion was also increasing. His owners then understood that they could not leave him in London any longer.
The solution came with a visit to the furniture store of Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the movie
It was they who suggested to Rendall and Bourke that they ask George Adamson, a Kenyan conservationist, for help. They did so and Adamson, along with his wife, agreed to reintegrate Christian back into the wild at their compound in the Kora National Reserve.
The task was not easy. Cristian was introduced into the wild along with another lion that was used in the movie Born Free. He subsequently added a female pup with the intention of creating a herd. But not everything went as Adamson expected….
The female was eaten by crocodiles. Another female that he had introduced into the pride was also killed by other wild lions…. And the other lion that was introduced alongside Cristian had lost his ability to socialize with other lions and humans and Adamson was forced to put him down after attacking an assistant. Thus, Cristian was the only survivor of the herd.
A year later and after much persistence, hard work and effort, Adamson managed to get the herd established in the area around Kora with Cristian at the head.
In 1971, Rendall and Bourke learned that Cristian had finally managed to live in his natural habitat, free and happy. So, they decided to travel to Kenya to visit the man who had been their great friend for a year. That trip led to the filming of the documentary Christian, the lion.
The documentary tells how Adamson firmly believes that it is impossible for Cristian to remember his former owners, the ones who once cared for him. The images are shocking when you see on the screen the first moments of caution and after a few seconds the lion pounces on them, happy to see them again… as if it were a kitten. Exciting!
Immortalized the greatness and goodness of animals… But judge for yourselves: