Despite strict laws making the possession of wild animals illegal, there are still some people out there who keep these majestic creatures under lock and key. Often, the animals are kept in terrible conditions, as was the case with the mountain lion, Mufasa, rescued earlier this year from an illegal Peruvian circus.
Mufasa was most likely sold into the exotic pet trade as an infant. For 20 years, he was trekked around from town to town, forced to perform. When he wasn’t performing, the circus kept him locked up in the bed of an open truck. He spent his nights curled up behind the tent poles.
“It was heartbreaking 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.”
At the time, Mufasa was severely underweight. His physical condition wasn’t the real issue, though. They found the lion to be nervous, afraid of people. Given his living conditions, it’s easy to see why.
The ADI rescued over 100 animals after Peru banned performing circus animals in 2011. Mustafa went on to live at ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue center in Lima, and has been gaining weight and regaining his wild spirit.
Watch Mustafa’s moving rescue video below! What did you think? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!
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