Take a look at this video…
An amazing story, don’t you think? One that should never have happened because Harrods should never have sold exotic, wild animals in the first place, but they did and the video shows that an extraordinary bond can be created between man and one of the most dangerous wild animals on the planet. Even George Adamson, of 'born free' fame and the man who re-introduced Christian to Africa had never seen anything like it.
Lions, of course, do not belong in our living rooms, back gardens or driving around in Bentleys, as Christian did while he was living in ‘the lap of luxury’ with his owners. Thankfully, its now illegal to sell and keep wild animals as pets but until the ban in 1976, keeping lions, pumas, leopards and other big cats was quite popular.
Unfortunately, after the ban was introduced, few actually tried to have their pets re-introduced to the areas where they belonged, releasing them instead in the UK countryside. Even today there are regular sightings of big cats in various areas and as late as in 2000 a young boy was attacked by a “leopard like” animal in Monmouthshire. Apparently, sightings in the highlands of Scotland have become common occurrences. It's believed that these sightings could have a direct connection with the 70's mania for keeping such animals.
In Africa, the number of lions has fallen by around 70% during the last decade alone leaving no more than around 16,500 of these magnificant creatures. Every year, over 600 are illegally hunted and killed as ‘trophies’ and illicit trading in lions still goes on. Habitat loss and the depletion of their natural prey has also taken its toll of them. Many are still kept under dreadful conditions in poorly managed zoos, circuses etc.
Man has a choice as to whether or not our species will have a chance of long-term survival; the animals we share the planet with do not. What we ruin for ourselves we also ruin for them and as I’ve always said: “mess up your own life if you want do, but don’t mess up others’ lives for them.”
Surely we owe it to those creatures who can’t make their own choices to do what we can to help keep the world a beautiful place where we can all happily survive?
For more information about Christian the Lion, see:
Daily Mail Story
The Born Free Foundation
Thursday, 31 July 2008