Christian The Lion was a lion originally purchased by Australians John Rendall and Anthony “Ace” Bourke from Harrods department store of London, England, in 1969 and ultimately reintroduced to the African wild by conservationist George Adamson. One year after Adamson released Christian The Lion to the wild, his former owners decided to go looking for him to see whether Christian The Lion would remember them. He did, and with him were two lionesses who accepted the men as well.
When John and Ace were informed by Adamson of Christian’s successful reintroduction to the wild (reported in some newspaper articles to be in 1971, and by George Adamson to be 1972) they traveled to Kenya to visit Christian The Lion and were filmed in the documentary Christian The Lion at World’s End (released in the U.S. as Christian the Lion). According to the documentary, Adamson advised Rendall and Bourke that Christian The Lion might not remember them. The film shows the lion at first cautiously approach and then quickly leap playfully onto the two men, standing on his hind legs and wrapping his front legs around their shoulders, nuzzling their faces. The documentary also shows the lionesses, Mona and Lisa, and a foster cub named Supercub welcoming the two men.
Rendall details a final, largely unfilmed reunion that occurred (reported in some newspaper articles to have been in 1974, and by George Adamson to have been in 1973). By this time Christian The Lion was successfully defending his own pride, had cubs of his own and was about twice the size he was in the earlier reunion video. Adamson advised Rendall that it would most likely be a wasted trip as he had not seen Christian’s pride for nine months. However, when he reached Kora, Christian The Lion and his pride had returned to Adamson’s compound the day before their arrival.
Rendall describes the visit he and George Adamson made: We called him and he stood up and started to walk towards us very slowly. Then, as if he had become convinced it was us, he ran towards us, threw himself on to us, knocked us over, knocked George over and hugged us, like he used to, with his paws on our shoulders.
The second reunion lasted until the next morning. According to Rendall that was the last anyone saw Christian The Lion.
Christian The Lion, Short Release in 2008