Almost 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.