A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion by Anthony BourkeIn 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.
A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months, the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement. But the lion cub was growing up—fast—and soon even the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson. Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and a life with other lions.
Originally published in 1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50 photographs of Christian from cuddly cub in London to magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible human-animal bond. It is is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.
John Rendall, Anthony 'Ace' Bourke and a lion called Christian
John: Ace and I have been friends since we were at uni. He rented a room from me in Paddington [in Sydney], then we left for Europe on the same day - the first day of cheap fares for students. We weren't expecting to meet up, but the day I arrived in London I went to lunch with friends and Ace was there. His flatmate was moving out, so I moved in. We met Christian in the Harrods zoo [pet shop]. The zoo was beside the rug department and I remember he got out one night and ate several goatskin rugs.
Please refresh the page and retry. T here have been plenty of famous lions, from Cecil to Simba, but only one that grew up in south-west London. The story begins in Harrods. John Rendall and Anthony Bourke, two young Australians who had recently arrived in London, wandered into the department store to discover a zoo on the second floor. After hours of gazing at two small lion cubs in a cage, they decided to buy one, in the belief that they could give him a better life. That was how, in December , Christian the lion came to live in Chelsea.
Christian the lion was a lion born in captivity and purchased by Australian John Rendall and Anthony "Ace" Bourke from Harrods department store in London in He was later reintroduced to the African wild by conservationist George Adamson. One year after Adamson released Christian to the wild, his former owners decided to go looking for him to see whether Christian would remember them. He did, and with him were two lionesses who accepted the men as well. Christian was originally acquired by Harrods from the now-defunct zoo park in Ilfracombe. Rendall and Bourke purchased Christian for guineas.
Try to Download directly Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. They bought the cub, named him Christian and lived with him in their Chelsea flat above a furniture shop. The film of their reunion with Christian was put on You Tube some 40 years after the event, and made the story famous all over again. While Richard Fidler is away, we are running some of our favourite Conversations. Richard is on the mend and should be back soon.