This video has recently been making the rounds on the Net, but if you have not seen it yet, here is the clip of Christian the Lion. You can read the whole story at The Born Free Foundation.
In 1969, John Rendall and his friend Ace Bourke legally bought a small lion cub from Harrods pet department store in Australia. ‘Christian’ was kept in the basement of a furniture shop on the Kings Road in Chelsea. The lion was loved by all, the affectionate cub ate in a local restaurant, played in a nearby graveyard, and was growing very fast. The young men realized that they could no longer keep Christian.
A chance encounter with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna led to a new life for Christian. He came to live in a caravan at their Surrey home. Then in 1972 he was flown to Kenya, his ancestral home, and returned to the wild in the Kora Reserve by lion-man George Adamson.
Christian left the Kora Reserve in 1973 and settled in his new territory along the Tana river. However, when the Wakamba herdsmen kept bringing their livestock to his hunting ground, he moved on. George Adamson said in his autobiography, “I used to count the days on which we hadn’t seen Christian, but when they reached 97, I gave up recording them in my diary.” Although a lion can live from 12 to 15 years in the wild, Adamson believed that Christian had died in the Meru National Reserve only a few miles up river.
Nine months later in 1974, John and Ace visited Kenya. Christian had not been seen for nine months but appeared the day before them, seemingly to know of their arrival.
It was an emotional reunion: “He ran towards us, threw himself onto us, knocked us over and hugged us, with his paws on our shoulders.”
Below is another example of how loyal and affectionate the King of the Jungle can be. This African Lion looks as if it is about to attack a zoo visitor, however it is actually hugging and kissing his former rescuer.
Jupiter, an African lion, was saved from a travelling circus over six years ago by Ana Julia Torres. Ana had formed a special bond with Jupiter while nursing him back to health at her animal shelter.
“This hug is the most sincere one I have received in my life,” she said.
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