THE TROUBLE WITH LIONS
Wildlife Conservationist John Rendall and Rula Lenska combined forces to host a film and talk on Africa’s disappearing lions.
Packed into London’s Ivy Club in Covent Garden, were supporters and guests, intent on listening to the worrying statistics of lions in the wild. The evening began with the famous YouTube clip of John’s reunion with his lion Christian, when the lion he raised in London with Ace Bourke in the late 60’s, emotionally greeted them after living for a year in the wild in Kenya. Christian was being rehabilitated by George Adamson who, with his wife Joy, had rehabilitated their lioness Elsa of ‘Born Free’ fame.
Christian’s rehabilitation was a success, but today lions and all wildlife is under increasing threat and the 75 guests were shocked by the facts that Rula and John revealed. In the last 40 years wildlife numbers have halved. When John and Ace took Christian to Kenya there were over 400,000 lions in Africa. Today there are less than 15,000. This staggering fact was reinforced by one of the guests, Dr Pieter Kat who is the co-founder of LionAid, a charity which lobbies MPs and the European Parliament to persuade governments to ban the trade in all wildlife trophies and body parts.
Rula is a patron of the late Mark Shand’s Elephant charity and she spoke about the problems of Elephant poaching.
Among the guests were Daphne and Shelley Borkum who had flown in from South Africa that morning, Chris McSween, co-founder of LionAid, photographer Pattie Boyd, Col. Geoffrey Godbold, ( Vice-President of Ham Polo Club), Milan and Gina Varmuza visiting from Spain, George Adamson Trust supporters Andrew and Susann Malim and Debbie Hodges, and artist Consuelo Child-Villiers. Also supporting the event were crime writer Daniel Pembrey who recently wrote a short novel inspired by the murder of the lion Cecil in Zimbabwe, Ivy Club and Ivy Restaurant supremo Fernando Piere and Christian ‘official photographer’ Derek Cattani who exhibited a selection of his photographs to support Rula and John.