Australian expats John Rendall and Anthony "Ace" Bourke returned to Africa to visit the lion they brought home years ago.
The lion named Christian became famous after the footage of the reunion with Rendall and Bourke turned into an overall hit on YouTube, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.
The story of Cristian and his heroes began in 1969. At that time London was the ideal destination for a few Australians, and among them, were Rendall and Bourke.
Rendall recalled that they met the lion in the pet shop called Harrods zoo, which was beside the rug department.
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"I remember he got out one night and ate several goatskin rugs," Rendall added. "My first feeling on seeing him was of being astounded, really: he was just so beautiful. It just seemed like such an adventure to buy him [at a cost of 250 guineas]."
However, Cristian's maintenance and care ended up being more complicated as he grew. After a year, Rendall and Bourke decided to transfer the lion to a furniture store.
By then, they got approval from a priest to let Christian run in the church's cemetery.
But the situation was getting more complex, and the cost of keeping up a lion also expanded. Rendall and Bourke realized that they couldn't have him for any longer in London.
The solution came with a visit to the furniture store of Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, the stars of the film "Born Free." It was them who advised Rendall and Bourke to ask for help from George Adamson, a Kenyan progressive.
They did all things considered and Adamson, alongside his wife, agreed to reintegrate Christian into the regular living space at his compound in the Kora National Reserve.
Cristian was acquainted with the common habitat with another lion that was used in the film "Born Free." Adamson later included a female pup with the objective of making a group.
Following a year and after numerous requests, work and effort contributed, Adamson figured out how to get the group settled in the district of Kora with Cristian at the head.
In 1971, Rendall and Bourke learned that Cristian had finally managed to live in a natural habitat.
At that point, they decided to make a trip to Kenya to visit Christian. That was the moment the documentary "Christian, the lion" was shot.
The documentary tells how Adamson firmly believes that it is impossible for the lion to recall his past owners, who once took care of him.
However, as should be evident in the video, when Cristian appears on the screen, there are a few moments of caution, and following a few seconds, the lion rushes on Rendall and Bourke. The poor animal was so happy to see them again.
"That day we went back to see him, people who watch it on YouTube expect that we were frightened. But we had such a strong bond with him, there was no fear," Bourke said.
He added. "If anything, our fear was that he would ignore us! I remember he was staring at us, and then we called. And we could tell; he was making his excited little happy grunts. I do remember thinking how huge he was, would we be able to hold him? But we knew he was happy to see us."
Bourke continued that getting to know Christian was one of the "happy moments" of his life.