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Bear hug? How about a lion hug?
August 10, 2007 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Christian the pet lion [yt] sees his former owners after being released in the wild. He was quite the sophisticated cat in his domestic days. Here is another video from prior to his liberation. [via reddit]
posted by frecklefaerie (46 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dammit, I was working on this post.
posted by spec80 at 8:11 AM on August 10, 2007


LOLChristian! Well, more of an awwww really.
posted by Abiezer at 8:16 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


well, this proves that cute overload can come from large, predatory animals as well as small ones!
posted by By The Grace of God at 8:17 AM on August 10, 2007


When Christian jumped on the former owners, I thought he was attacking them at first. Still, some cool videos. Where did this footage originate? Was this part of a documentary?
posted by fallenposters at 8:25 AM on August 10, 2007


Aw, he gave them hugs!
posted by leesh at 8:29 AM on August 10, 2007


It's kinda sweet, and all, but couldn't they just leave the poor thing be? It seems to have adjusted OK to living in the wild; it's getting along well with the other members of the pride -- why jeopardize that by reacquainting it with elements of its former life of domesticity? I'm no animal psychologist, but that seems irresponsible to me.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:30 AM on August 10, 2007


IT CAN BE HUGS TIEM NOW PLZ?
posted by katillathehun at 8:36 AM on August 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Was this part of a documentary?

Google says yes!
posted by spec80 at 8:50 AM on August 10, 2007


Oh Abiezer.
posted by gomichild at 8:52 AM on August 10, 2007


Look how he marks them with his cheeks, just like a housecat ... this is adorable.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:53 AM on August 10, 2007


Cool, thanks spec.
posted by fallenposters at 8:54 AM on August 10, 2007


Atom Eyes: It is a cool experiment to see how much long term memory other animals have. We know dogs have it, but my cats? If I left for a year, I'm sure they'd see me again and think "who's that asshole?"
posted by triolus at 8:55 AM on August 10, 2007


Okay, so at first I was going to make a "and then seconds after this film was shot he ate them" kinda comment. But it was so sweet I actually almost cried. 'Cuz I'm a freakin' sucker for animal hugs.

Damn you.

Sniffle.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:56 AM on August 10, 2007


And in other news... Roy Horn hugs a pork chop.
posted by disgruntled at 8:59 AM on August 10, 2007


OH MY GOD! Look out for that lion! I can't believe those guys are so casual while being MAULED BY A FREAKING LION!!1!!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:01 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


From the second link:

Christian stared at us in a very intense way," says Rendall. "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."

"The lionesses were far from pleased. There was a lot of growling and spitting," continues Rendall.

"'George said: 'This isn't safe - we'd better go.' So we each put a hand on Christian's back and he walked with us back to camp."

The reunion party went on all night and into the morning. Leaving his exhausted companions to go to their beds, Christian returned to his pride.

"We watched him go back to the two lionesses, who were not at all happy with this man, smelling of nicotine, whisky and humans," says Rendall.

"He just walloped the two of them with his paw, then collapsed."

And that was the last anyone ever saw of him.

posted by miss lynnster at 9:02 AM on August 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


triolus: I agree.

I just think that if these people really wanted to keep in contact with him so much, they should probably never have thrown Christian to the lions in the first place.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:02 AM on August 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


"I saw Boy turn and look at Christian," says Rendall. "There was a look on his face, as if to say: 'You absolute fool. What a howler of a blunder.'"

Metafilter: What a howler of a blunder.
posted by solid-one-love at 9:07 AM on August 10, 2007


That made me cry. A lot. Good thing I'm not in the office.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:24 AM on August 10, 2007


Made me cry too. Quite a bit. And I am in the office. Fortunately my office mate isn't here yet.
posted by evilangela at 9:44 AM on August 10, 2007


Sniff.
posted by itchylick at 9:47 AM on August 10, 2007




Yeah, great video, thanks FF
posted by doctor_negative at 10:04 AM on August 10, 2007


Atom Eyes: It is a cool experiment to see how much long term memory other animals have. We know dogs have it, but my cats? If I left for a year, I'm sure they'd see me again and think "who's that asshole?"

Nah, cats remember. I left my cat with my parents when I went to college, and he remembered me every year when I came home for winter break. My own cats remember my mother when she comes for her yearly visit, also.

Neat video... I like the look on the lion's face when he figures out who those people are.
posted by vorfeed at 10:25 AM on August 10, 2007


frecklefaerie, I loved this post - it made me happy!
*Goes out to befriend some lions.*
posted by madamjujujive at 10:27 AM on August 10, 2007


goddamit you just made me cry at work.
posted by unknowncommand at 10:30 AM on August 10, 2007


Abiezer: I racked my brain trying to think of a good pun for the title, and LOLChristian would have been perfect.
posted by frecklefaerie at 10:33 AM on August 10, 2007


Meet his gang [NSFW, edge.org]
posted by vertriebskonzept at 11:03 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. Fascinating. Yesterday, I stuck my hand through the fence to scratch the ear of an adult male lion. The last time I saw him, he was begging for attention, like he knew me. This time, he was where I could reach. He was very pleased, and he has two lionesses for company.

Lions just aren't the ferocious beasts of myth, most of the time. If they don't see you as a threat or dinner, you have a free pass. If you raise them as cubs, they won't see you as a threat, but will be happier if you bring dinner.

The hand raised big cats I've been around are quite friendly, when in the mood. I wouldn't presume to startle one, past 4 months in age, or otherwise try to control one, much past that. But I'm not a handler, I'm just a visitor.

As with so many undomesticated critters, they just get too powerful to be a reasonable risk for most of us. I stuck my fingers in, but he knew I was there and had invited familiarity. I would not have stuck a whole arm in :-O
posted by Goofyy at 11:15 AM on August 10, 2007


I'm sure the idea of having a pet lion made a lot more sense in the late '60s. Because I can imagine being very, very high and thinking, "hmm, I think a giant predatory cat would make an awesome pet."

The video is pretty adorable though.
posted by quin at 11:45 AM on August 10, 2007


Doesn't help that I just had to leave my puppy at doggy daycare for 3 days while I go out of town.

I miss her already. WAHHHH!
posted by miss lynnster at 11:49 AM on August 10, 2007


Lions just aren't the ferocious beasts of myth, most of the time. If they don't see you as a threat or dinner, you have a free pass. If you raise them as cubs, they won't see you as a threat, but will be happier if you bring dinner.

A keeper at the Bristol (UK) Zoo told me that male lions used to captivity are dangerous mostly in that they're much stronger than humans-- an enthusiastic lion can knock you down and bend you the wrong way without meaning to, but they're a lot like huge housecats. But she also said that some individuals (zoo employees quickly learn to identify them) and many (might have been "most") females couldn't be trusted.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:14 PM on August 10, 2007


This was great. Thanks!
posted by JPowers at 12:25 PM on August 10, 2007


Someone forward this to Roy Horn. Dude, clearly wasn't showing his large, predatory trained house cat the right kind of love...
posted by From Bklyn at 12:32 PM on August 10, 2007


i loved this
posted by AloneOssifer at 12:34 PM on August 10, 2007


Dammit. Now my eyes are gonna be all puffy.
posted by Stewriffic at 1:11 PM on August 10, 2007


Aww, man. This is awesome!
posted by mewithoutyou at 1:19 PM on August 10, 2007


IT'S A LION!

But seriously, great post. Made my day.
posted by splice at 1:29 PM on August 10, 2007


That was completely awesome.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:06 PM on August 10, 2007


Someone forward this to Roy Horn. Dude, clearly wasn't showing his large, predatory trained house cat the right kind of love...

Note that the article mentions that one of the other lions this naturalist set free was shot because he attacked and killed a man (the man ran from the lion, which induced it to attack). As people who've been badly scratched by their pets know, even tame housecats will attack given the right stimulus. Roy Horn fell down in front of his tiger, and falling is a prey behavior...
posted by vorfeed at 2:22 PM on August 10, 2007


So sweet.
posted by maxwelton at 3:52 PM on August 10, 2007


Thanks for posting this. It made my day! What a great story.
posted by snsranch at 4:01 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Great story, but I had to go home and play both videos on my home computer as well to convince myself that there really isn't sound on either of them. I wonder why?
posted by yhbc at 4:05 PM on August 10, 2007


I think the stifled sobs of viewers all over the Internet is supposed to form the soundtrack.
posted by maudlin at 4:15 PM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Vorfeed: With tigers, even less than full grown, don't even get lower than the cat. But tigers are trickier than lions. They are more energetic and playful, dangerously so. The bengal tigers they have at the place near me had to get turned out to pasture after attacking some silly woman, who freaked out when the tiger sniffed her crotch (she had been warned). She tripped backwards and got bit in the throat (fully recovered from her injury).

However, part of my point is that the full grown cats still miss the attention they enjoyed from humans. At least one of the tiger pair will still come to the fence near people, and give body language clearly seeking attention. (I think it's the female). Not sure if she vocalizes like other cats (there is a specific sound cats make, cross-species, which invites friendly contact), she is too far to hear the very low sound. Your housecat would typically make this sound when you come home, and it wants attention. Just a different pitch according to size of cat.

The real fun ones though are cheetahs. Obviously, highly energetic! Their energy is such that, in some ways, their behavior is more akin to dogs. They get excited and start racing around.

But that's all the big cats with whom I've gotten personally acquainted. Sadly, no leopards or jaguars. The leopards aren't especially endangered, they're sneaky enough they still roam where they will. I don't know about jaguars.
posted by Goofyy at 12:29 AM on August 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


AMAZING! *tear* This post totally makes up for the F*ing LCD cat!
posted by petersn1 at 6:43 PM on August 15, 2007


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