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and life along the winding road

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Lion Called Christian by Anthony Bourke and John Rendall

You can buy anything at Harrod's was the slogan of the upscale London store and what caught the eye of two Australians visiting England was a lion cub.
It was 1969 and although not unusual for exotic pets to be paraded along the King's Road, nevertheless, a lion was an attention getter. Anthony Bourke and John Rendall took their lion home and a friend allowed him to spend his days entertaining (and sometimes scaring) customers at a furniture store. Christian's daily exercise was at Moravian Close once a property owned by Sir Thomas More.

Before long, the two realized that keeping a lion in a London flat was not going to be possible for much longer as at 8 months old he already weighed 130 pounds. It was then that Bill Travers and his wife Virginia McKenna visited the shop (they stared in the movie Born Free). The movie portrayed George Adamson and the lion, Elsa, that had been returned to the wild with the help of George and Joy Adamson and it was through them that Christian also found a new home in Africa.

This was no easy task and after helping Christian to get acclimatized to his new surroundings, the two friends left for a year. When they returned he immediately recognized them. It’s an amazing story.


Book Dilettante said...

It's hard to believe they sold a lion cub at the department store. It resulted in a good story, though.

K9friend said...

I'm glad this story had a happy ending, though the whole idea of trying to make a wild animal into a pet makes me cringe.

Critter Alley