The theatrical premiere of the 2019 remake of The Lion King is happening today after a Kenyan premiere happened on Wednesday at the Garden City Mall. The photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s 1994 animated classic of the same name centres around Simba, a young lion who fate forces to embrace his role as the rightful king of his native land quite early after his father, Mufasa, is murdered by his brother, Scar.
While everyone was gearing up for the grand finale of all premieres, the Lion King himself was making a royal trip from the Nakuru National Park to Hell’s Gate National Park to inspect and verify the suitability of Pride Rock as the film’s prime location.
It is not possible to ascertain whether he was satisfied with the choice made by Disney’s animators who, inspired by Hell’s Gate’s rugged beauty, had selected Pride Rock as the location for a remake of the Lion King because shortly after his arrival, his trip was interrupted by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Rangers who strongly felt his real home belonged in Nakuru.
On their Twitter handle yesterday, KWS confirmed that the stray Lion King had indeed returned home after their (KWS) Naivasha vet team led by Dr Titus Kaitho managed a successful capture.
Hell’s Gate National Park traditionally does not have predators and that is what makes it an ideal wilderness park for cycling, running and walking trails. The arrival of the King here was therefore quite dramatic, perhaps it was a PR move on his side to take advantage of the current global spotlight on him to add some Klout to himself!
This is not the first time the King is leaving his royal turf in Nakuru though. Towards the end of May this year, residents of Moi Ndabi and Ndabibi in Naivasha were visited by a pride of 8 lions that had strayed from the Nakuru National Park.
It is not yet clear why the big cats are leaving the national park but experts suspect the closure of wildlife corridors could have a big role to play. As the Circle of Life makes a spectacular come back in a few hours’ time, we hope this spotlight on the Lion King may be just what he needs to avoid a possible IUCN red list which he has been staring at for a while.
Here are a few exciting fun facts about the greatest cat in the original home of the African Safari you can watch to whet your appetite for the big screen moments and remember everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. Keep it that way.