A remarkable video documenting a reunion between a lion named Christian and two men who had cared for him early in his life has been making the rounds on the internet and in the media and I wanted to share some additional information about this story because it is very personal to me and central to the being of Born Free Foundation as an organisation.
This lion used to live in my garden.
Christian was bought from Harrods pet store in London and came, via a furniture shop and my garden in England, to live in Africa (Kora in Kenya), where he was returned to the wild by the world-famous George Adamson.
My late dad (Bill) filmed this great adventure.
The film is extraordinary and exemplifies the spirit that underpins Born Free – every individual matters. Even way back in the 1970’s, this was our way of giving Christian a shot at freedom.
This is part of the Born Free legacy. If it wasn’t for Born Free, the film, my dad and mum (Born Free’s founder, Virginia McKenna) would never have met Ace and John (the two young men in the clip) who would never have brought Christian from London to my garden. My dad, Bill, would never have negotiated with the Kenyan government for Christian’s return to Africa. We would never have had this memorable and inspiring story – and Christian would never have had his freedom (see image below © Bill Travers).
Today, the Born Free Foundation (and Born Free USA in the States) carry on the spirit of Born Free – helping wild animals in need, fighting injustice, cruelty and neglect and working to change animals’ lives for good.
You can purchase the film, Christian: The Lion at World’s End from Born Free at http://www.bornfree.org.uk/shop/acatalog/Videos_and_DVDs.html and you can become part of the Born Free family by joining as a member. I also have my own blog on our Born Free website which you can view at http://www.bornfree.org.uk/blog/.
To watch the clip of Christian that has wowed the world, visit: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/big-cats/about/christian-the-lion/
You can also Subscribe to Born Free Wildlife Direct blog by Email
Thank you. Do share this story and film clip with your friends.
Born Free Foundation
P.S. Born Free does not advocate the keeping of any wild animal as a ‘pet’. Christian’s story was from another era and was unique. Today we must do all we can to ‘keep wildlife in the wild’.
John Rendall is based in the UK and still supports wildlife conservation both with Born Free and with the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust. Ace now lives in Australia.
Christian lived the life of a free, successful lion, in and around the Kora area until he was seen no more. It was assumed by George Adamson that he had crossed over the Tana River and out of the Reserve.