Extraordinary: Watch Christian the lion’s reunion with his human friends

2008-08-27 00:00

The Internet has been abuzz with clips of Christian the lion and the reunion between him and his former owners, John Rendall and Anthony ‘Ace’ Bourke.

The clip shows the lion approaching the pair from a mountain slope, and, upon recognising them — astonishingly — runs up and covers the two men with licks and hugs.

The reunion took place in 1972. It was in 1969 that Rendall and Bourke bought Christian from London’s Harrods department store, which was then legal. The problem was that the lion cub grew up too fast, and so in 1971 he was flown to Kenya and returned to the wild. Nine months later, in 1972, Rendall and Bourke returned to Kenya.

Christian’s former owners had been told the lion wouldn’t recognise them. But the video shows the lion’s obvious joy at being reunited with the two men. “He ran toward us with such love and excitement in his eyes, and we felt exactly the same way. We were just so excited to see him, looking so big and healthy. The story had just turned out so beautifully, when it could have had a very different ending.”

Some of the clips on YouTube have reached as many as 12 million viewers.

Two clips from the internet craze surrounding Christian the Lion currently:

The original documentary: Christian the Lion - Full Ending

Christian the Lion owners! John Rendall Anthony 'Ace' Bourke 35 years later! on the Today Show


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