In 1969, John Rendall and Anthony Bourke bought a 35-pound lion cub at Harrods department store in London and raised him in a local furniture store. They loved their new pet, but within a year “Christian” had grown to 185 pounds and the cost of keeping him was becoming prohibitive. So conservationist George Adamson took Christian to Kenya and introduced him into the Kora Nature Reserve, where eventually he led a pride.
One year later, Rendall and Bourke traveled to Africa hoping to visit their old friend. The lion hadn’t been seen in nine months, but on the day of their arrival, he appeared outside the camp. Even so, Adamson warned them, he might not recognize them if they approached. Here’s what happened: