After 20 years of torment in traveling circus, mountain lion is finally home

Mountain lions are solitary creatures that like to roam large territories. They have a secretive streak and are especially careful to stay away from people. When an animal that needs space and prefers not to be seen is kept in captivity, its mental, emotional, and physical health suffer. The worse the conditions, the worse the suffering.
An unlucky mountain lion named Mufasa had known nothing but a life in chains. He was probably born in the wild, somewhere in the forests of South America, but his home (if you can really call it that) for the last 20 years was the back of a rusty old pickup truck in Peru. He was part of a traveling circus, his lot in life being to entertain people and make a little money for the circus owner. Between the chains, exposure to the elements, the unwanted attention of gawking crowds, and general mistreatment, Mufasa was trapped in a living hell.

The good news is that the traveling circus was likely the last of its kind in Peru. Moved by the inhumane conditions animals like Mufasa had to endure, the country’s legislature passed a law banning circus animals. Animal Defenders International (ADI) was helping the authorities enforce the new law. When ADI got a tip-off that a circus was illegally keeping a mountain lion, they joined forces with police and wildlife officials to investigate. They found Mufasa, but there was a tense 8-hour standoff before the circus owner finally agreed to hand over the big cat.

You’ll find a video of Mufasa’s dramatic rescue posted below. He’s surprisingly calm and subdued when his chains are removed, almost as if he was too beaten down to even care. Before long, his mood improved, now that he was able to stretch out and move around freely. ADI whisked him off to the Tambopata nature reserve and Mufasa is now free to prowl the forest like a normal mountain lion!
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