It is well into its third decade since lions roamed in the Kora National Reserve where legendary conservationist George Adamson set up a camp to rescue lions and release them back into the wild. The heart breaking but successful story of rescuing orphaned cub Elsa became internationally famous in the blockbuster film Born Free, based on the iconic book written by George’s wife Joy.
Tony Fitzjohn worked closely with George, and continues to work in wildlife conservation. He has lovingly rebuilt George’s original camp, Kampi Ya Simba, in the Kora National Reserve, abandoned after he was murdered by Somali bandits in 1989. Tony picks up where he and George left off all those years ago, with the aim of releasing captive and orphaned lions back into the wild with the support of the Kenya Wildlife Service.
Martin Clunes has had a close friendship with Tony since they met 20 years ago when they released Nina, a zoo elephant, back into the wild. In this documentary Martin travels to Kenya to visit Tony and to meet his first lion cub to be brought to the Kora camp for 25 years.
Mugie, an orphaned lion cub was found when he was just three weeks old, washed up on a river bank after a flash flood. Martin and Tony travel 140 miles from Kora to Ol Jogi, a 60,000 acre private game sanctuary for some of East Africa’s most endangered wildlife to collect Mugie. Thanks to an electric fence, the reserve is protected against poaching, allowing the wildlife to flourish. Jamie Gaymer, the reserve’s wildlife and security manager, has been looking after the cub he named Mugie after the place he was found, and contacted Tony to ask if he could take him.
Martin says: “While there are about 500,000, elephants, left on the continent, there are only 30,000 lions. Three years ago a mission began to bring lions back to a remote Kenyan wilderness. From day one I have had the privilege of being a witness to this story. It’s one that stirred deep childhood memories, brought great highs and awful lows. This is the true story of one animal’s big adventure, and one man’s dream."
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