Many countries have officially enacted laws against keeping wild animals in the circus. However, many circuses seem to be blinded by money and continue to keep these animals in chain. This is exactly what Mufasa, the mountain lion, has been through in roughly 20 years.
For more than 20 years, Mufasa, sᴛᴏʟᴇɴ from the wild as a cub, had suffered the indignity of being bound in chains and left to languish among rusting circus equipment as the travelling show meandered among remote South American villages.
Luckily, ADI received a tip on in April that Circo Koreander was operating ɪʟʟᴇɢᴀʟʟʏ in a distant outpost of northern Peru. Backed by police and wildlife officers, the charity moved in but were greeted with ʜᴏsᴛɪʟᴇ ʀᴇsɪsᴛᴀɴᴄᴇ.
An eight-hour stand off ensued before riot police and a public prosecutor arrived and Mufasa, along with an Andean condor, were finally handed over. At last, it was time for Peru’s last wild animal in circus ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ to be ʙʀᴏᴋᴇɴ free from his shackles.
“It was ʜᴇᴀʀᴛʙʀᴇᴀᴋɪɴɢ to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said in a statement. “A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time.”
Mufasa was taken to ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue shelter near Lima where his rehabilitation started. His appetite and coat condition started to improve, after the vets nursed him back to health. He was then taken on a three-day journey to his forever home in a reserve in the Amazon rainforest.
The reserve prepared a special enclosure in the Amazon rainforest that will allow Mufasa, who’s unreleasable, to live out his days as close to his natural life as possible.
Photos show him taking his first cautious steps out into his new home, exploring the leaves and bright undergrowth as he finally settles into a place where no one can ʜᴜʀᴛ him.