An elderly mountain lion who spent his life chained to a truck finally gets a taste of freedom.
Mufasa the mountain lion was rescued from a circus in Peru earlier this year. Perhaps involved in the exotic pet trade as a child, he spent 20 years performing from village to village.
Lacking even the comfort of a cage, when he wasn’t performing he was shackled and tied to the open bed of a truck, where he slept curled up behind tent poles.
“It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa stuck in circus equipment on top of a pickup truck,” Jan Kramer, head of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said in a statement.
“A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and without us removing them, he was free, free for the first time.”
At the time, Creamer described the scene as “the saddest, weirdest thing you’ve ever seen,” adding, “It was like he wasn’t alive.”
Fortunately, he was rescued by ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom, a year-long crackdown on іɩɩeɡаɩ circuses in the wake of Peru’s 2011 Ьап over the display of circus animals, after an eight-hour standoff with his owners.
When he was found, the mountain lion was very underweight. But the real price was more than the deer skin; Rescuers described him as “quite a bit” and said he was hostile to people
But luckily, help has arrived. Mufasa was transferred to ADI’s Spirit of Freedom гeѕсᴜe Center in Lima, Peru, where rescuers began to heal his body and mind. “His appearance and coat condition improved after receiving specialist veterinary treatment,” the group said.
After recovery, he was finally ready for a real home and ADI took him to the Tarikaya Ecological Reserve. The reserve has built a special enclosure in the Amazon rainforest that allows Mufasa, who is an introvert, to spend his days as close to his natural life as possible.
The photos show him taking his first cautious steps into his new home, exploring the leaves and bright undergrowth as he finally settles into a spot where no one will find him.
“Mufasa started from that and reflected on the worst possible life,” Kramer said. “[His] story is emblematic of what we ended up with.”
Although Mufasa’s story itself is heartbreaking, he saved nearly 100 animals during ADI’s гeѕсᴜe campaign, including lions, bears, monkeys, birds, and a tiger, all of whom were rescued from circuses and are now recovering from their long years. between
ADI will continue their work to free circus animals – even as they hail the miracle of a 20-year-old mountain lion’s long-awaited return to its home.
“It’s a joy to see him wandering among the trees of his forest preserve,” says Creamer.
You can donate to ADI to support Mufasa in his twilight years and help the group help other animals like him.