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Christian The Lion

Christian The Lion
Christian the lion full story and update--the best from YouTube (VIDEO).

In 1969, two friends who owned a furniture store in London decided to rescue/buy a small lion cub that was for sale at upscale Harrod's. (The upscale department store has since done away with its "exotic animals" department.)

"There, in a small cage, was a gorgeous little lion cub. We were shocked. We looked at each other and said something's got to be done about that," John Rendall told the Daily Mail in 2007.

He and Ace Berg bought the 35-pound cub and brought it home to live with Rendall in his tony Chelsea flat.

Rendall and Berg romped with Christian as if he were a dog, wrestling with him and playing ball on the grounds of a nearby chapel. The lion cub rode with Rendall in is Bentley, and had a sense of humor.

"Sometimes, he'd see people staring at him through the back window of the car, keep very still on purpose - and then, just when they were convinced he was a stuffed toy, he would very slowly turn his head and freak them out," Rendall said of Christian.

As the cub grew and filled out to 185 pounds, the decision was made to fly Christian to Kenya and--working with an animal conservationist, George Adamson-- release the London-born lion into the wild.

When Rendall and Berg visited Kenya a year later, they were told that Christian had successfully acclimated to his new environment and hadn't been spotted for a while. Even if they did see the lion, the pair was told, Christian would not recognize the men who raised him as a cub.

After hours of searching for him, the two men spotted Christian.

Christian stared at us in a very intense way. I knew his expressions and I could see he was interested. We called him and he stood up and started to walk towards us very slowly.

Then, as if he had become convinced it was us, he ran towards us, threw himself on to us, knocked us over, knocked George over and hugged us, like he used to, with his paws on our shoulders.

Everyone was crying. We were crying, George was crying, even the lion was nearly crying.

--John Rendall, describing the moment when Christian recognized him and Ace Berg

The astonishing reunion was documented on film and has become a YouTube sensation.

On Friday, March 13, the story will be aired on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Read the full story now at the Daily Mail. Watch the videos...I've culled the best from YouTube.

Warning: don't watch these if you are PMS'ing or sitting at a cubicle at work. They are guaranteed to make you weepy, especially the ones set to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" power ballad.

Another one...

Want to see more Christian the lion?

Watch documentary footage of him romping at home in London, then being transported to Kenya, and his reunion with Rendall and Berg.

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