From Captivity to Freedom, This Lion is Forever Grateful!

Christian the lion was born to a pair of captive lions — but fate had a different destiny for young Christian. When he was just a young cub, Christian was put up for sale by the zoo, and bought by a department store — he was placed in the pet section, “for sale.” Back in 1960s England, this entire process was legal, and apparently considered morally acceptable.

However, when John Rendall and Ace Bourke found Christian, they knew he didn’t belong in a store. When they first purchased him from Harrods department store, they kept him as a pet. Christian became a mainstay in their community, but his size was becoming a problem.

Eventually Christian was brought to his ancestral homeland by “lion-man” George Adamson, who helped Christian make the transition to the wild.

In 1972, John and Ace traveled to Kenya to visit Christian in his new home. Check out the video to watch their emotional reunion.

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Matthew M. Sullivan holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Grand Valley State University, with emphases in fiction and nonfiction. He lives smack-dab between some railroad tracks and Grand Rapids Michigan's third-busiest road, and spends his time studying film and literary fiction.