August 12, 2014


Christian was born on the 12th August 1969 in Ilfracombe Zoo, Devon, UK. As most of you are aware, we don’t know what happened to Christian.  He was last seen by George Adamson in 1973 setting off in the direction of Meru National Park, Kenya. We like to assume he created his own pride and lived happily for quite a few more years.  Free.  Lions live approximately 10-12 years in the wild, although up to 18 years in captivity.

These photographs are stills taken from my Super 8 footage on our visit to Christian in 1972.  I never saw Christian (or George Adamson) again.

I don’t advise kissing lions – unless you know them very very well! George Adamson loved lions above all other animals, especially their capacity for love and trustworthiness.  However, he did say “why should we expect lions to be more trustworthy (and predictable) than humans?”.

Miraculously, we did not have one incident with Christian.  He could be mischievous, naughty and boisterous – but he was never anything but loving with us.  He seemed to know our circumstances were unique, and that he could trust us implicitly.

Of course I appear a hypocrite now, protesting about wildlife sanctuaries that farm lions and encourage cub petting and walking with lions.  Our circumstances and our relationship with Christian were different however, although we now accept we should never have been allowed to buy him and that we were participating and perpetuating the trade in wild animals.

Part of Christian’s rehabilitation by George Adamson in Kenya was to minimise his contact with humans as in the future they would be a threat to him and vice-versa. This is probably why Christian was initially cautious as he walked down the hill towards us when we had our first reunion with him in 1971.


World Lion Day was celebrated everywhere. Thanks for your responses – and apologies to any organisations and websites I didn’t mention last blog – like Great Cats of The World.  They re-blogged, and linked to similar blogs and Facebook pages. View here.

Last night I attended a lecture by Professor Peter Singer of Animal Liberation fame. He was asked when did he become aware that animals have feelings – are sentient beings.  He replied it was just obvious growing up with the family cat Buddy.  I think most of us have had similar realisations.  Of course his lecture about the major issues we face – like poverty, farming of animals, climate change etc was hugely instructive.  Apart from becoming vegans, he did emphasise that if we want to contribute, we can donate to the many causes close to our hearts.

TONY THE TIGER URGENT ACTION: We have been asked to urgently circulate and sign these petitions by August 17th for Tony the Tiger, still in his cage at the truckstop in Louisiana, USA

Petition 1 – Sign HERE.

Petition 2 – Sign HERE. After signing this petition, an email will be sent to you & you must click the link in the email to verify your signature and make it count!

Tony’s continuing imprisonment despite the efforts of so many people makes me feel very frustrated as a blogger and an animal rights advocate.  However, I am told that when I ask if you would consider signing petitions I think are important, there is a discernible spike in signatures and that makes me very very appreciative of you all. As a group – we can make a difference!

But this is Christian’s day.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I find it extraordinary the spell he still casts over me – and many of you. Now more than ever we need to make the world and all who share it more united, compassionate, loving, thoughtful, and caring……



  1. Virginia (ginnie) Mayhew Says:

    Dear Christian, Ace, and John, thank you for your story that i fell upon by accident in 2021. it is now 1/1/2022. i have gone back so many times still enjoying all of it. Christian, we both share August birthday’s i will celebrate mine 8/2 and yours 8/12. be well to all and again, thank you. and to George Adamson a man to remember.
    ginnie mayhew in Boston (newton) Massachusetts USA)

  2. Veraflor Langi Says:

    i love watching the documentary about christian the lion

  3. Sheri Anderson Says:

    Happy Birthday Christian. Thank you for mentioning the plight of Tony. Thank you for your continuing dedication to the welfare of the world’s great cats.

  4. Carolyn Says:

    Happy Birthday to my darling Christian ….. sure the celebrations in Paradise were glorious with you my darling and George and Boy and all the others whose lives you touched…. you wonderful, magic Lion …… My Aslan …… when I come to Paradise I want to meet you Christian…… Love you always…. Carolyn
    Thank you Ace.

  5. sharon wardle Says:

    Happy Birthday Christian ~ Christian’s extraordinary story and the bond the three of you shared has touched countless people around the world and I know it will continue to do so. Christian’s story is one of true friendship & love but it is also about letting go and the power of this will continue to touch & inspire people for generations ~ Thank you for loving & respecting Christian enough to set him free and for sharing your journey with the world.

    Also, thank you for sharing the petitions for Tony and for everything you continue to do for animals ~ Sharon

  6. Hi Ace, On his birthday, please know that Christian remains alive and well in the hearts of millions around the world. I discovered Christian’s story when a friend emailed me the You Tube clip of your reunion with Christian in 1971. That clip literally changed my life and my relationship with all animals and Mother Earth, and I thank you for that.

    I have signed the first petition, but the second website is having technical difficulties, so I’ll try again later.

    We must keep up the pressure and NEVER stop advocating! We are Christian’s voice in the here and now, answering his “call for help” you mentioned in the interview noted in your blog post yesterday.

    Lion hugs,
    Lisa Nadziejka
    Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

  7. Happy Birthday Christian. And greetings and many thanks to you too Ace. You are both a true inspiration to me personally.

  8. sbroussard@americanbb.com Says:

    Happy Birthday Christian!! Thank you Ace and John for caring and loving Christian so much and for sharing your story. It’s incredible to think of and even to imagine what it must have been like. His story is an amazing one that I never grow tired of watching.
    Christian always new the love you both had for him, evident in the video footage from so long ago. I am thankful that I follow your blog Ace, you have changed the hearts of many and the world is a much better place because of you. We will never stop fighting for these great causes. Much love and peace always!!

  9. Stephane Sauve Says:

    I have been following your blog for close to 4 years now; at leat I think its 4 years. I read a lot on George and Kenya and of Christian as well. Not to say that least but you must have had a wonderful experience as a young adult having a cub for a pet. Not that I am promoting that kind of thing mind you.

    I think of Christian every year on this date and I have my favorite picture of Christian on my screen saver for this one special day. The picture is the one of George sitting besid Christian on a rock.

    Your Blog is much appreciated and I love reading it.


  10. Happy Birthday to Christian. And thank you to Mr. Bourke and Mr. Randall for sharing this story with the world.

  11. Edith Says:

    Happy birthday, Christian! ❤️

  12. patricia12@tiscali.co.uk Says:

    Happy birthday Christian. Xxxx
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

  13. Bonnie Weiss Says:

    I love Christian and his story. It has touched me very deeply. Thank God Ace and John rescued him from Harrods and no one else. He was loved, cared for and given his life back In the wild which probably would not have happened with anyone else. Happy Birthday Christian! — and thank you Ace for being a voice for animals that can’t speak for or help themselves.

  14. Colleen Paul Says:

    Happy Birthday to the greatest lion ever, dear Christian. And thank you to Ace Burke for continuing to share the story of Christian and for all he does to make this a better world.

  15. Hélène Says:

    Real love stories have no end, they have only a beginning. This is the story of Christian, Ace and John.
    Happy Birthday Christian !!

  16. Tanya Says:

    Happy birthday, Christian!.. You live forever in people’s heart…

  17. A big thank you for the mention. It is a pleasure to follow you and to reblog your posts. Ty for that option. I also want to send out a huge Thank you for the mention of Tony the Tiger whose campaign we are all involved in. We keep going.
    Happy Birthday to one of the Worlds most loved Lions.
    Thank you Ace Bourke for all that you do. Peace x

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