Update: So good Today Tonight decided to play the clip tonight (without any actual reporting required). Thanks for watching!
This clip of a reunion between lion carers and lion, from a 1970s documentary The Lion at World’s End has become an internet sensation on YouTube with over 16m hits. Partly because the footage is so staggering and partly because somebody put Whitney Houston and a lot of emotional text to the footage.
Tomorrow on Mornings with Kerri-Anne, John Rendall and Anthony ‘Ace’ Bourke, the two men in the clip will give their only Australian interview on their story.
Christian the Lion: better than The Bodyguard.
Christian the lion was purchased in 1969 by two Australians living in London, John Rendall and Anthony ‘Ace’ Bourke from Harrods department store, when they discovered him for sale in exotic pets department and, concerned for his conditions and fate, decided to buy him.
Rendall, Bourke and their girlfriends cared for the lion until it was a year old but his increasing size and the cost of looking after him led them to realise they could not keep him in London for much longer. Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the film Born Free, visited Rendall and Bourke’s furniture shop, who suggested that they ask the assistance of George Adamson, the Kenyan conservationist, to help them rehabilitate Christian into the wild at his compound at Kora National Reserve.
Adamson slowly introduced Christian to an older lion ‘Boy’ and subsequently to a female cub in order to form the nucleus of a new pride. This approach was successful and over the course of several years the pride established itself in the region around Kora.
When Rendall and Bourke were informed by Adamson of the successful result in 1971, they travelled to Kenya to pay one last visit to Christian in order to say goodbye.
Adamson warned them that it would most likely be a wasted trip as he had not seen Christian’s pride for nine months. However they discovered when they reached Kora that Christian and his pride had returned to Adamson’s compound the day before their arrival.
Rendall said, “We called him and he stood up and started to walk towards us very slowly. Then, as if he had become convinced it was us, he ran towards us, threw himself on to us, knocked us over, knocked George over and hugged us, like he used to, with his paws on our shoulders.”
Mornings with Kerri-Anne 9AM Thursday on Nine.