Father of Lions “Baba ya Simba”

Several years ago, I came across the now famous video of Christian the Lion who had been born in captivity and lived in a London flat with his two owners John Rendall and Anthony “Ace” Bourke before being released into the wild in Africa.

Christian the lion reunion
Christian the Lion reunion
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The video clip is of the reunion almost a year later when the two owners go back to Africa to visit Christian even though they are told Christian probably wont remember them. If you have not seen this video, I encourage you to do so because you will never forget what you see in this emotional reunion between friends.

Settle back with a glass of chilled Chardonnay or a cup of tea….


After seeing the video I had to do research and found that there was another person besides the owners that Christian had bonded with, that person is the amazing Father of Lions himself, George Adamson. George took Christian under his wing as he did many lions and showed him the ropes. George lived in Kenya, he had a camp there, he lived with the lions. Christian didn’t get dropped off in the wild, he was taken in by this amazing man who would act as a foster parent to Christian until he was able to stand on his own. Christian was the first lion in 5 generations of his to make it back to his original roots of Africa. Thanks to George Adamson.

Here is the link to the full story about George Adamson’s role in Christian’s release into the wild.

George Adamson joined Kenya’s Game Department as a warden in 1938 but his journey really began when he formed a bond with a lion cub named Elsa. George’s wife Joy Adamson wrote a best selling book about their journey which was later made into a movie called “Born Free”. In 1989 George Adamson was murdered at the hands of humans, by Somalian bandits.

There have been many people in my lifetime that I respect but this man right here, this is the kind of person that I would like to be more than anything. His connection with these lions far exceeds any other I’ve seen and was built on kindness and respect. George Adamson looked to these lions as equals and through this equality he found friendship in an animal that has been thought to only be a hunter.

If you have the time, check out his website…you won’t be sorry, this was really an incredible human being. The photographs are amazing, these lions were truly his friends.

“Who will now care for the animals, for they cannot look after themselves? Are there young men and women who are willing to take on this charge? Who will raise their voices, when mine is carried away on the wind, to plead their case?” George Adamson 1906-1989


Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

10 thoughts on “Father of Lions “Baba ya Simba””

  1. I watch every video I could about George Adamson and his love and work with the lions. Many tears were shed especially about his murder. Where are all the Britts? This man more than earn his knighthood. He had laid the foundation for the conservations of animals and nature. Its a shame that he receives very little credit for his lifetime dedication and sacrisfice

  2. George is and was an amazing man. He was intelligent enough to help many big cats. Males and females, people don’t realize that when you are hunting and kill cats you are ending genes – ones these cats need to go on and on.

    I don’t like how people can just kill an animal with no remorse! Makes me furious inside but I have to remind myself that these humans are not human they lack empathy and they need to be taught what it truly does to the world when you kill animals.

    If we all thought and cared enough about these animals they would all be in a better place but with strict laws and guidelines is difficult.

    How can we help and carry there voice and a voice to be heard.

    1. they lack empathy and they need to be taught what it truly does to the world when you kill animals

      Agreed. A lot of it is plain ignorance. A sizeable percentage of the population of the world is ignorant. Literally. It is as bad as that. Half of the world lives in the Middle Ages (1400s) in terms of mentality.

  3. Just reading some of the comments, I’m not sure that I want to play this documentary.
    But, I have seen videos of this reunion. They melt my heart.
    Maybe, I can play the video in a day or two.

  4. A beautiful essay, Jennifer. Every animal lover should buy the book or check it out at the library, then photocopy, enlarge and frame the b & w photo of Elsa sprawled on her back, hugging her mom who lies face down, resting on her girl, her arms around her neck.

    Look at the lion’s loving expression in the photos accompanying your essay.

    And yes – a sad ending all around for Elsa and her parents. Both her mom and dad were murdered, and Elsa purportedly died of some disease within a year or so of her release.
    Here’s a paragraph from a draft that needs more footnotes, but refers to that photo of the smiling young woman, featured on PoC in the not too distant past, who poses with the lion she blasted into oblivion.

    ‘Another young woman beams into the camera, her eyes shining in the sun…’

    Challenger’s eyes were shining
    with the lust of slaughter…

    [Arthur Conan Doyle]

    ‘…holding the rifle that put an end to a paragon of leonine beauty, his eyes closed to the sunlight. Did she see nothing wrong and everything right in her “Got-a-Life” shootout? Did her moral tether end at a rug? A trophy for her wall? Can someone be blamed who has no concept of wrongdoing? Are they equally blameless, the profiteers who pave the way for these innocents? Toddlers turned loose in a patch of iris infallibly reach out their little hands, mash the blossoms and giggle at the slime oozing through their fingers.’

  5. “BORN FREE” is among one of my most memorable movies having first seen this movie in Mombasa as a kid with my parents.The song “Born Free” is also a classic.Sad about the tragedy that later happened to the Adamson’s.Still worse, the rate at which lions are losing forest land and being hunted seems they could also be doomed to extinction in most parts of East Africa.

    1. Don’t work too hard! 😉 I can talk. When I was a solicitor, which I was for the last 14 years of my working life, I worked about 4 times harder than I did in any other job. I was flogged to death basically. And looking back on it, I don’t know how I managed but I did, as we all do.

  6. oh no this is horrible i wander whos done this horrible crime and did they have motives. just makes u think. Those lions i sure hope they are protected some how 🙁

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