Back in 1969 two young Australian men working in London, John Rendall and Ace Bourke, made an unusual impulse buy - they bought a lion cub from Harrods because they were sad at the conditions under which he was being kept. They raised the cub, "Christian", in the basement of their furniture shop, but when he had grown from 35lb to 185lb after a year they realised they had a problem!
As fate would have it, one day the two stars of "Born Free" Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, came through the door. They offered to introduce the guys to George Adamson, and subsequently Christian was rehabilitated and released into the wild in Kenya.
In 1972 John and Ace travelled to Kenya in the hope of seeing Christian again. Adamson warned them that their lion might not recognise them, and indeed might not even turn up in the camp since Adamson had not seen him for 9 months.However, Christian did arrive, and the joyful reunion was captured in a much-viewed video clip.
(be prepared with the tissues!)
So why am I telling you this? My DD was privileged to be part of a select group of animal conservationists who dined with John Rendall and Ace Berg in the big cat enclosure at Taronga Zoo last Tuesday night. Lucky girl!
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