REXANO  Editorial By Zuzana Kukol

There are probably not many animal lovers who haven’t read the article or seen the latest YouTube sensation “Christian the Lion” . It tells the heartwarming story of a pet lion bought in 1969 and raised in the apartment by two Australians living in London. It is not a surprise that pretty soon the lion was outgrowing the apartment and new arrangements needed to be made.
That is when the Australians met actors Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna who had just finished filming the movie “Born Free” about a real lioness Elsa, who was reintroduced to the wild. The actors personally knew and portrayed George and Joy Adamson, the real people behind the movie, who raised and released their lioness Elsa back into wild.

The Australians contacted George Adamson and ended up taking their lion, Christian, to Kenya where he was released into the wild. (As a responsible exotic animal owner, I have to say that getting a lion and raising it in an apartment is a very irresponsible act. Anybody who wishes to privately own big exotic cats needs to have proper caging set up before getting the animals, as they grow very fast.)

The hit Christian the Lion video takes place in 1972 when the Australians, Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, returned to Africa to reunite with their pet lion. The lion, which is supposed to be a killer in many people’s minds, not only remembered his former family, but gave the two guys many big hugs. It is this strong loving emotional bond between a human and the ‘beast’ that captivated the attention of many million viewers and brought them to tears.

Author with her own pet lion ‘Bam Bam’, bred and born in the USA (Photo Scott Shoemaker)

Until now the public had no clue captive born and raised exotic cats are capable of love and a bond this strong. This is something we, the pet exotic animal owners, know and experience everyday. Until now nobody believed us.

Happy pet lion licking the hand that feeds him (Photo Scott Shoemaker)

What many do not know is that the son of the actor Bill Travers is Will Travers, CEO of Born Free USA which united with the Animal Protection Institute (API), an extreme animal rights (AR) group that actively pushes for bans on exotic animals in captivity.

  • The group that often uses questionable methods to accomplish their goal
  • The group that would rather see these animals extinct than saved in captivity
  • The group that is now selling the DVD in the UK and making money off of the very sweet bond between a human and lion that made this footage famous, the very bond this group wants to eliminate by pushing for exotic animal bans and for closing the zoos.

On the group’s website Will Traves, CEO, says “This lion used to live in my garden” and “My late dad (Bill) filmed this great adventure”.

Another page of the API/Born Free propaganda ridden website claims: “…lions, tigers, cougars, wolves, bears, monkeys, alligators, and venomous snakes and other reptiles — pose grave dangers to human health and safety. By their very nature, exotic animals are unpredictable and are incapable of being domesticated or tamed. and “States must act now to pass laws that ensure that the private ownership of exotic animals is prohibited”.

Yet, their own, API/Born Free, CEO Will Travis lived with a lion in his garden, his family and friends were filming movies with captive and wild lions, and nobody was killed or even lost a limb to a big cat.

What better proof does the public need to see the hypocrisy of the animal rights movement that wants to ban the exotic animal ownership under the guise of public safety, even though the numbers do not add up? On average, one person dies in the USA every year as a result of a captive big cat attack. The majority of the fatalities are the owners/handlers themselves, aka, an occupational hazard.

The public needs to wake up and realize the dangers of the extreme animal rights movement, whose final agenda is no animals in captivity for any reason, be it pet or food. 

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