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Christian the lion
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from the website http://themedicalvet.com/christian-the-lion/
In 1969, two Australian friends purchased a lion cub from Harrods department store of London, England. The store had originally acquired the lion from a now-defunct zoo. At the time, the lion cub weighed 35 pounds. The friends raised the lion in their London home and gave him the name Christian, because a local vicar allowed the men to exercise and play with the cub on the church grounds.
Within a year, the lion had grown to 185 pounds; that and the increasing cost of his care made the friends realize that they couldn’t keep Christian much longer. So they flew to Kenya, where they dropped off Christian with a conservationist who helped the lion settle into living an independent life, and also integrated the animal into a pride with other lions. Ultimately, Christian was released into the wild.
One year later, his former owners decided to go looking for the lion to see whether Christian would remember them. Remarkably, Christian first cautiously approached the men, and then quickly but playfully leaped onto each of them, standing on his hind legs and wrapping his front legs around their shoulders, nuzzling their faces.
Check out this amazing video that was taken during the reunion with Christian and the two friends who raised him as a cub. It’s a 2½-minute version of the tale.
If this story piques your interest and you want more… enjoy the full 45-minute documentary.
Editor's note: The video clip of this reunion I found to be emotionally moving. Christian even introduced his human friends to a lioness-mate.
If a lion in the jungle-wild can temporarily step out of a survival-mode of existence to remember, with loving embrace, his lost friends, then there is hope for the rest of us.