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.
Mufasa was rescued from an illegal Peruvian circus. For 20 years, he has been carted from village to village and forced to perform. The poor animal has never been known the taste of freedom until Animal Defenders International (ADI) came to save him. ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom is a yearlong crackdown on illegal circuses. Thanks to their firm determination, Mufasa was finally set free after an eight-hour standoff with his owner.
When he was rescued, Mufasa was in poor condition. He was locked up on the back of a truck, among the other equipment. He lacked even the comfort of a cage.
“It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck. A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time.” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said in a statement.
However, not just his physical health was damaged. The rescuers described him as quite nervous when they set him free, he was afraid of people. Apparently, 20 years kept in chain has severely affected his mental health. Fortunately, Mufasa was then transferred to ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue center in Lima, Peru, where caretakers began to heal his body and mind.
Although he has made a good recovery, he was unable to be released back into the wild. Therefore, the rescuers transferred him to Taricaya Ecological Reserve. In there, a special enclosure in the Amazon rainforest has been prepared for him. At last, Mufasa can live out his days as close to his natural life as possible.
Mufasa wasn’t the first animal to be rescued and also not the last one. ADI will continue their work to free illegal circus animals and hopefully, return them to their natural home.
You can watch a video of the rescue below.