Idol Chatter

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Christian the Lion

posted by Douglas Howe

christianthelionpic.jpgAlmost 40 years ago, some unbelievable events happened that, thanks to current technology, are now being broadcast to millions of people around the world. You’ll find this video to be as heartwarming as it is inspiring, reminiscent of rare privileges of a past time and an even rarer moment between humans and animals.
In this case, the guys are a couple of animal-loving blokes from Australia, and the main character is “Christian the Lion.”
A generation ago, it was still legal to purchase exotic animals, which John Rendall and Ace Bourke did in an auction at Harrods. After using a small church yard to help the cub exercise, Christian grew to being much too large for it. With the help of wildlife conservationist George Adamson, the two men took Christian to Africa to help him prepare to be released into the wild.


What happens after that is sheer theatre, which I won’t spoil here. But my favorite part of the whole thing is the story of why the men named him “Christian,” which has to do with the Bible’s influence in their lives.
Several friends e-mailed me this link to something that is the real thing, actual bona fide “must see TV.” Skeptic as I am, I quickly looked for any source that could tell me this was staged, or digitally altered, or falsified in some other way. Turns out, you can trust it, and this piece of old footage may engage (or re-engage) a whole new generation towards wildlife conservation.
The “Today” Show played it last week on air, which helped its viewership to grow well into the millions, and actually showed it again as an encore on Wednesday. “Today” also caught up with Rendall and Bourke in Sydney. Check out the video interview and a gallery of photos of Christian.



  • Jackie

    This video is so moving. How happy you must have been to see him again. With all the sadness in the world today, this story is so heartfelt & amazing. I think it should be made into a movie & the proceeds go to wildlife conservation.

  • Bonnie Barbieri

    I saw this on the Today Show Wednesday and I googled Christian the Lion and saved the video so I can watch it as often as I like. I’ve watched it many times and I don’t think I will ever tire of it. It proves to me our pets never forget us! I’ve always known that! This lion was amazing and these two men are amazing! I saw the interview and I give them so much credit for what they did and what they do now. Animal conservation is so important! People bulldoze the rain forests and never think twice about what they are doing. They build new subdivisions and never think about the animals they are displacing. I wonder about Christian and I’m sure he died of old age. He was on a wildlife preservation. How fortunate he was to have had these two remarkable men find him.

  • Fleur

    I am a Christian and would love to believe that those two darling boys in the Christian the Lion video, John Rendall and “Ace” Bourke,gave their lion cub the name Christian for spiritual reasons related to their Christian beliefs. However, having just seen a YouTube interview with the two (now grown, of course) men by an Aussie television lady named KerriAnne (I think that’s her name)…..they don’t seem to be able to recall exactly why they chose that name but concede that it was, indeed, a very cool name for Christian to have.
    Nevertheless, I think Christian the Lion lived up to the spirit of his name as he was clearly a sweet creature with no guile and, of course, filled with His great, great love.
    I am one of those believers who fully expects to see lots of animals (and my own pets) when I die and go to be with Jesus. Whether or not animals have souls I cannot say but I do know this: when Jesus returns to planet earth, He is coming on a horse (see Revelation)and when the lion lays down with the lamb, I’m sure Christian will be foremost among them.

  • Stacy Dorr

    This video is amazing!!! I’ll keep in as long as I possibly can, and I’ll cry like a baby every time I watch it!!!

  • nettie pitzer

    i’ve never watched anything so much in my whole life. i am absolutely mezmerized by christian,john and ace. i feel like i know them and i love them all. what john and ace did for christian was such a kind and loving thing for them to do..and i believe somehow christian knew it and loved them for saving him from a miserable exsistance like his parents.

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