Christian the Lion Lived In My Garden

A remarkable video documenting a reunion between a lion named Christian and two men who had cared for him early in his life has been making the rounds on the internet and in the media and I wanted to share some additional information about this story because it is very personal to me and central to the being of Born Free Foundation as an organisation.

This lion used to live in my garden.

Christian was bought from Harrods pet store in London and came, via a furniture shop and my garden in England, to live in Africa (Kora in Kenya), where he was returned to the wild by the world-famous George Adamson.

My late dad (Bill) filmed this great adventure.

The film is extraordinary and exemplifies the spirit that underpins Born Free – every individual matters. Even way back in the 1970′s, this was our way of giving Christian a shot at freedom.

This is part of the Born Free legacy. If it wasn’t for Born Free, the film, my dad and mum (Born Free’s founder, Virginia McKenna) would never have met Ace and John (the two young men in the clip) who would never have brought Christian from London to my garden. My dad, Bill, would never have negotiated with the Kenyan government for Christian’s return to Africa. We would never have had this memorable and inspiring story – and Christian would never have had his freedom.

Today, the Born Free Foundation (and Born Free USA in the States) carry on the spirit of Born Free – helping wild animals in need, fighting injustice, cruelty and neglect and working to change animals’ lives for good.

Support Born Free by joining us and you can become part of the Born Free family. To watch the clip, visit:
Thank you. Do share this story and film clip with your friends. And do join us.

Will Travers
Born Free Foundation

P.S. Born Free does not advocate the keeping of any wild animal as a ‘pet’. Christian’s story was from another era and was unique. Today we must do all we can to ‘keep wildlife in the wild’.

John Rendall is based in the UK and still supports wildlife conservation both with Born Free and with the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust. Ace now lives in Australia.

Christian lived the life of a free, successful lion, in and around the Kora area until he was seen no more. It was assumed by George Adamson that he had crossed over the Tana River and out of the Reserve.

2 Responses to “Christian the Lion Lived In My Garden”

  1. Will Travers Says:

    Dear Friends

    We have been overwhelmed with the positive and heart-felt response to Christian’s story. I would love to write personally to each and everyone of you but simply can’t – there are so many great people out there.

    Christian’s story is an inspiration.

    But I do have a personal request. Please consider joining Born Free. If you are a US citizen, please visit and if you are in the UK elsewhere, join Born Free Foundation (see above). Africa’s wilderness areas where lions can live free are under threat. It’s our 25th anniversary next year and we want to make it Year of the Lion. Will you be part of that?

    With deepest gratitude to you.


  2. Cindy L. Maus Says:

    I love the stories of the lions in Born Free, Stay Free and Live Free, as well as Christian the Lion. Thank you for all the hard work you do to save lions in the wild.