Christian The Lion and 5 Other Famous Animals

By Antonia Čirjak on February 17 2020 in Did You Know

Christian was a lion born in captivity that was purchased by John Rendall and Anthony Bourke, two Australian men.
Christian was a lion born in captivity that was purchased by John Rendall and Anthony Bourke, two Australian men.
  • Christian the Lion was able to recognize the humans that raised him, after being separated from them and living in the wilderness for a year.
  • Cher Ami the pigeon saved an entire army battalion by delivering an important message despite being wounded.
  • Sam the cat is the protagonist of a comical story set in a more serious backdrop of World War II, during which he managed to survive three shipwrecks.

Animals are fascinating creatures that are capable of surprising us by certain aspects of their behavior again and again. Certain cases left a mark on our society and created some memorable stories. One of those cases is the story of Christian the lion. Christian was a lion born in captivity that was purchased by John Rendall and Anthony Bourke, two Australian men. They bought the lion in 1963 from a Harrods department store in London.

Christian is not the only famous animal; the article will also deal with some other specific cases from history.

6. Dolly the Sheep

The sheep named Dolly was the first-ever mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. She was born on July 5th, 1996, emerging from the belly of one of her mothers. The birth of Dolly proved that somatic cell nuclear transfer as a technique of cloning could work. Although Dolly died six years after birth because of lung disease, this technique was further developed and later used to clone other animals. This was made possible, thanks to Dolly.

5. Punxsutawney Phil The Groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil, whose full name is "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary," is considered to be the most famous groundhog in the world. He has been predicting the weather in Gobbler's Knob in the borough of Punxsutawney since 1886.

Many people believe that it is still the same groundhog predicting the weather today, but that is not the case, naturally. The prediction ceremony is called Groundhog's day, and it is quite well known all over the world, partly due to the popular movie from 1993 that shares its name with the event.

4. Sam The Cat

Sam, the cat, also known as Unsinkable Sam, was a cat that managed to survive three shipwrecks during World War II. The first shipwreck was that of the Bismarck, on May 27th, 1941. Sam survived and was picked up by a British battleship. That ship, called the Cossack, was also under attack later that year.

During the attack, an explosion killed 159 members of the crew, but Sam, the cat, survived once again. That was when he was given the nickname, unsinkable Sam. However, he survived another shipwreck, this time it was the HMS Ark Royal. After the ship was torpedoed, Sam was found floating on a plank. This fascinating turn of events made him quite famous.

3. Cher Ami The Pigeon

Cher Ami was one of the pigeons given to the US regiments during World War I so that they could be trained for messaging duties. Cher Ami flew through 12 extremely important missions in 1918, culminating with the final journey that took place on October 4th of the same year. That was the day of the Battle of the Argonne, and Major Whittesley and his battalion were trapped in a bunker behind enemy lines. They also started to receive friendly fire because the rest of the troops were not aware of their location.

After sending several messages through other pigeons, the friendly fire started to become extremely problematic, which forced the Mayor to send Cher Ami to their allies with the plea to stop firing. Cher Ami was shot by german forces but continued flying and managed to deliver the message despite being shot in the chest, blinded in one eye, and having one of its legs hanging by a tendon. This monumental feature was the reason 194 lives were saved, and Cher Ami became a true hero, surviving for another year.

2. Laika The Dog

Laika was a stray dog that was found wandering the streets of Moscow and ended up becoming the first dog to travel into space. However, this story doesn't end happily, since Laika died during the trip. The launch itself was rushed so it could happen in time for the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Once it was discovered that Laika died, the first official story claimed that the cause of death was oxygen depletion that occurred six days after the trip started.

However, in 2002 it was said that Laika died only six hours after launching due to excess heat. Laika remains in the memories of many people, and there is a statue of the legendary dog elected at Star City in Russia. 

1. Christian The Lion

While the lion was still a baby, Rendall and Burke took care of him in London. Since he was growing, they moved him to the basement of a department store, but his size eventually started to become a large problem (literally). They realized they could not take care of Christian anymore, so they sought the help of George Adamson, a conservationist from Britain. He agreed to reintegrate Christian into the Kenyan wilderness in the Kora national reserve. Over a year, Christian was slowly integrated into the pride of lions, eventually becoming its leader. 

Rendall and Burke were informed of Christian's progress, and they decided to travel to Kenya and visit him. This is where the story gets interesting. They were advised that Christian might not remember them and while he did cautiously approach them at first, he quickly leaped playfully on them and started showing how excited he was that he saw them again. Other members of the pride also welcomed the two men. Another reunion happened two years later, and Christian once again showed that he did not forget his human friends. 

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