Christian the Lion’s amazing story took place a long time ago. In the early 1970s it was possible, in the UK, to buy a lion from a department store; it was possible to keep that lion in a furniture shop; to exercise him in a church graveyard; to take him to the beach and to have him come to live in my family’s garden in the country.
Thankfully, those days are over. As we have learned more about the needs of wild animals and how inappropriate it is for them to be kept as ‘pets’ by private individuals, we have come to understand that wildlife belongs in the wild. That was the philosophy of George and Joy Adamson, that is the legacy of Elsa and that is the philosophy of Born Free today.
Ace and John did the right thing. They took a chance and with the help of my parents, Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, and with the incredible skill, dedication, and understanding of George Adamson, Christian was given the unique opportunity to become a free-living, wild lion — to take his rightful place in the world
Christian’s extraordinary reconnection with Ace and John, nearly a year after he had been returned to his natural habitat, is profoundly touching and deeply moving but we should remember that lions, tigers, leopards, elephants, bears, wolves, and many other creatures are potentially dangerous — potentially lethal — wild animals. We should respect them as such. After all, Christian’s story is one of love but it is also one all about letting go.
KEEP WILDLIFE IN THE WILD NOT IN CAPTIVITY