Australian John Rendall and his friend Ace Berg bought the lion cub from Harrods in London in 1969 when the world famous store had an exotic animals department. Herrods had gotten the cub from Illfracombe zoo and it was on display at the store in cage when spotted by Rendall and Berg.
And they called the lion, Christian.
Christian lived in the basement of Rendall’s flat in Chelsea and for a year was a pampered cat. And a clean one too, according to Rendall. He unfailingly used a very large kitty litter box and was jointly cared for by Rendall, Berg, and two of their female friends.
It was decided that Adamson and Africa might be the next destination for Christian. Adamson was cautious because Elsa had been an African lion born in Africa. Christian was from London and had lived a very different first year of life.
In Africa, Christian befriended a lion from the Born Free film named Boy. Adamson added a female lion to the friendships and began the process of educating Christian about the wild.
Rendell and Berg would visit from time to time to check on Christian’s progress but it was in 1974 that Adamson told them that Christian had finally adapted to the wild. He had a litter of cubs, did not return to the camp very often and was the leader of his pride (Boy had been shot and killed in a tragic event near the camp.)
Adamson continued his work in Kenya but was shot and killed in 1989 by either poachers or bandits.
A film and a book were made about the remarkable story of Christian the Lion.