After spending his life in bondage chained to the back of a truck, Mufasa, a now elderly mountain lion, has finally learned the meaning of freedom. Mufasa was rescued from an illegal circus in Peru earlier in 2015. He was likely kidnapped and sold in an illegal exotic pet trade as a cub and spent 20 years being carted from village to village, forced to perform, and left to live a life in chains.
Mufasa wasn’t even given a comfortable cage. He spent his days and nights chained to the bed of an open truck. He had nothing comfortable to sleep on.
“It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck,” said Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), “A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time.”
Creamer called Mufasa’s situation “the most sad, wretched thing that you’ve ever seen.”
“It was like he wasn’t even alive,” she continued.
Peru banned circuses from forcing animals to perform back in 2011, and ADI has been on a rampage cracking down on illegal circuses ever since. Mufasa was freed from his owners after an eight-hour standoff.
Needless to say, Mufasa was severely neglected when they finally saved him. He was very underweight and showed signs of abuse. He was afraid of people and skittish. After his rescue, Mufasa was transferred to ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue center in Lima, Peru.
“His appetite and coat condition have improved after receiving specialist veterinary treatment,” ADI reports.
“Mufasa was torn from the wild and has endured the worst possible life,” Creamer said. “[His] story symbolizes the suffering we have ended.”
Mufasa is just one of nearly 100 animals, including birds, monkeys, tigers, bears, and lions, that have been rescued from circuses.
“It is magical to see him moving about in and out of the trees in his own piece of protected forest,” Creamer said.
If you’d like to get involved and support Mufasa, ADI accepts tax-deductible donations.