Mufasa was stolen from his mother when he was still very young and sold into captivity. Over the following 20 years he was mistreated and kept bound up in heavy metal chains while being forced to endure life on the road with the circus.
The circus that Mufasa was found with was believed to be the last of many in Peru which for years had been illegally using wild animals in their shows. Now thankfully it’s illegal to keep animals in circus shows and authorities, with the help of animal advocacy non-profits, including Animal Defenders International (ADI), have been enforcing it strictly.
The ADI group had recently received a tip that the circus was still holding a mountain lion and they accompanied police and local wildlife officials to investigate it further. That’s when they found Mufasa chained up in the back of the truck. What followed was a long, strained eight hour standoff, but eventually the circus surrendered Mufasa and this video captures the emotional moment he was finally released from his heavy chains. The elderly lion can be seen sitting quietly as he patiently waits for officials to cut the harness off and finally free him from a life of captivity and neglect. For the first time in perhaps 20 years he’s able to fully stretch himself out and perform the one action that cats of all types and breeds seem to love best.
After he’d been checked out and deemed healthy enough to travel, he was taken on a 3 day journey into the Amazon rainforest to his new home.
Mufasa will live out the rest of his life at the Tambopata Reserve where he’s free to wander about his new habitat completely unchained. He no longer faces a life full of uncertainty and constant travel and there are no more people gawking at him. Instead, he finally has the chance to spend his final few years in the wild jungle where he’s protected and able to move about on his own.
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