Happy Birthday Christian!

Published 14 August 2012
Happy Birthday Christian

Happy Birthday Christian, image from Derek Cattani

The 12th of August marks Christian’s birthday and this month also marks 40 years since we last saw Christian. By 1972 Christian had grown into what George Adamson thought may have been the biggest lion in Kenya – close to 500 pounds, and with more growing to do.  To quote from our book A Lion Called Christian, and Ace’s letter to his parents.

“We saw Christian every morning and evening for a walk and a chat.  He is much calmer and much more self assured than last year, and stunning to be with.  Just as silly.  Huge.  Jumped up on me only once as before on his hind legs and he did it extremely gently.  He licked my face as he towered over me.”

Despite his size, the local wild lions were still unrelenting in their opposition, and Christian was spending extended periods away from Kora and George assumed he was looking for somewhere more suitable to live. We realised this may mean we may never see him again… but we did.  This is the video of our second and last reunion with Christian in 1972.

Ace writes… This is one of my favourite photographs with Christian.  It sums up the relief of finally getting Christian to Kenya after months of delays, and the necessary vigilance over his well being and everyone’s safety in England. The photograph represents for me the freedom from restrictions, the beginning of Christian’s natural life, and to just… be.

The Tana River, Kora, Kenya

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