Sunday, October 21, 2012

The man who lived with lions

Baba ya Simba  (Father of Lions)
George with his beloved Boy who is buried beside him
A young lion with a twig in his mouth visits George's grave

“There was no doubt that he was inextricably linked with Nature for all time and that Nature, in her turn, accepted him unconditionally into her fold."
                 ~Veterinarian and author Sue Hart

 George Adamson dedicated his life to saving lions. His journey began when he and his wife Joy raised a small lion cub named Elsa. That story would later become a book and movie beloved around the world

Adamson's work allowed 23 lions, which otherwise would have been put in zoos, to live in the wild. While his passion was raising lions and releasing them back to the wild, he loved and communed easily with all wildlife. Those who knew him best believed his natural way with animals was due to his calm, quiet manner, his ability to quickly earn their trust, and his deep and abiding respect for each one as individuals in their own right. 

In August 1989 Adamson was shot dead by Somali bandits in an ambush a few miles from his isolated camp at Kora in northern Kenya. His wife Joy, from whom he had been separated for several years, was murdered in 1980 at her camp in Kenya by a disgruntled employee. 

In an obituary for the New York Times, Jane Perlez wrote: "After separating from his wife, Mr. Adamson moved to Kora and built a compound. He always slept under the stars. He was a generous host but preferred to be alone. In his autobiography, he wrote of Kenya: 'Promises of solitude, of wild animals in a profusion to delight the heart of Noah, and of the spice of danger, were always honored. Today, of these three, you are only likely to encounter the danger.'

George Alexander Graham Adamson was born in Etawah, India (then British India) on the 3rd of February 1906. His mother Katherine was English and his father Harry, who helped to train an army for the Rajah of Dholpur, was Irish. As a youth George attended a boarding school in England. He and his brother Terrance enjoyed hiking in Scotland and the two were very close. Read his complete biography here.

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