A lion in the living room…

living with lion. lion in the living room

So you thought Hobbes was the only domesticated predatory feline in popular culture? Though wonderful as he is, Hobbes has a twin persona of being a stuffed toy to Calvin’s parents and an animated intelligent tiger to Calvin. Let’s cross the Atlantic ocean and zero in on King’s Road, London of 1969. There was a lion who traveled by Bentley, ate in fine London restaurants, played soccer in a church backyard and spent his days lounging in a furniture shop. The incredible yet true story of the pet lion ‘Christian’, his playful antics in the London of Beatles era, his bonding with the humans to his eventual release into the wild – is as moving as it is incredible. Fact, they say, is stranger than fiction!

A lion in the living room

Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, two Australians who in 1969 were living in a hip section of London had come across a lion cub in a cage at the Harrods department store in the  “exotic animals” section! The friends decided to bring the cub home and soon the three bonded like kindred souls. Christian was more like a large cat rather than the lion, but then after a year, he had grown to be of epic proportions with regard to his weight and size to be kept in an apartment. The friends decided to take Christian to his natural habitat in Kenya and with the help of renowned wildlife conservationist George Adamson.

In 1972, the friends revisited Kenya to meet their old friend. The reunion’s edited video has become a cult classic in YouTube and a worldwide sensation, more than 30 years after the event. The quondam footage of a grownup lion gleefully bosoming two young men like a love lorn canine has made myriad eyes misty.

As this article aptly puts it,

What is it about the old, grainy images that have attracted millions of clicks around the globe? Is it simply that a lion, whimsically named Christian, remembered the two men who raised it and then released it into the wild? But it may be something more: the indelible image of a creature that could kill a man in seconds behaving like a pussycat with two men it obviously loves, smack in the middle of the African bush.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MBj8ayZq0I]

Also see: How Lion Whisperer is saving lions?

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8 Comments

    1. Thanks Payal di’!
      It’s great to have you back in the canine world…I hope there won’t be such a hiatus in the near future:)

  1. Never had i heard such a pretty story..
    It was lovely..
    Your works usually leave me speechless.. loved it 🙂

  2. hey i’ve actually read this somewhere and seen the video too.
    beautiful, really 🙂
    and even though i’m risking sounding sissy,i did shed a tear (or two, was it?) 😛

  3. After watching videos like this one here… i always wish that mankind could rewind and reconnect with the wild.. love animals and receive their love in response… contrary to the belief that animals are dumber than humans.. may be they are in some ways but they understand love and that makes them wiser than the wisest men.. 🙂

  4. I’ve known about it before but this is some new footage. Thank you so, so much for this. Warms my heart like a bright sun on a cold December morning. <3

    1. Thanks for putting it so aptly, Mahima:) December sun will take it’s time to show up again but we will keep our hearts warm in the afterglow of a friendship which is remarkable, quite like a fable.

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