London, Aug 4 : A video featuring an emotional reunion of a lion with the men who raised him has become a Youtube sensation.
The clip shows two young men walking towards a lion on an African reserve.
He sees them, stops in his tracks, sniffs the air... then bounds towards them in delight.
Standing up on his hind legs, he hugs both in turn and licks their faces.
Recorded in 1974, the emotional scene was first released as part of a foundation DVD in two years ago.
It was uploaded to the Internet by a fan a few weeks ago with the heart-rending Whitneys Houstons soundtrack 'I Will Always Love You'.
The two men John Rendall and Ace Bourke aged 25 at the time, bought three-month-old lion named Christian from Harrods in 1969 for 250 guineas (s262.50) and kept him in a flat they shared in London.
But over the period of time, the pair found it hard to take care of the animal because its diet was costing them dearly, and the duo was eventually forced to set the pet free.
But four years later they yearned to know what had become of Christian.
Both John and Ace were told that their visit would be fruitless as he had disappeared into the bush, and had not been seen for months.
But the lion still returned.
"He ran towards us, threw himself on to us, knocked us over, and hugged us, like he used to, with his paws on our shoulders," the Mirror quoted John as saying.
"Everyone was crying. We were crying, even the lion was nearly crying. We will never forget our last, precious moments together," he added.