Mountain lions are naturally found in steep areas, especially in mountainous terrain. Deserts are also part of their natural habitat, as are coastal forests.
Obviously, they belong to large areas where they can move freely among other animals and are not chained up to be removed. And certainly not in a circus.
Mufasa is a former mountain lion who was probably sold as a baby to illegal exotic animal traders and forced to perform in a circus in Peru. For 20 years Mufasa was dragged from village to village, always chained and deprived of his freedom.
In Peru it is illegal for wild animals to perform in circuses. However, this does not prevent operators from finding ways to acquire such animals for “entertainment purposes”.
That’s why Animal Defenders International is working hard to eradicate these illegal practices and rescue captured animals. Mufasa was finally rescued during Operation Spirit of Freedom, one of ADI’s annual missions.
Although Mufasa was the last animal to be rescued, it was a long fight with the bounty owners and ADI, neither of whom would back down. Fortunately, ADI won the battle and Mufasa was taken to an animal shelter where he was cared for.
Mufasa in a cage and malnourished.
Operation Spirit of Freedom was launched by Animal Defenders International after the organization’s previous campaigns to rescue illegal circus animals caused a stir in many countries, including Peru.
Following an ADI investigation, Mufasa was found chained to the back of a pickup truck. The truck bed was used as a prison where he rested among circus equipment when he was not performing.
The scene described by the ADI president was sad and pathetic. Mufasa was found with a heavy harness on his body and was very thin.
An eight-hour standoff between ADI, the authorities, the police and Mufasa’s former owners.
Mufasa’s freedom got won by ADI.
Rescuers help Mufasa taking cautious steps.
After being rescued, Mufasa was considered too weak to be released back into the wild. He was therefore placed in a forest enclosure built by ADI in Taricaya to allow him to recover. In this way, his freedom is protected from threats.
Rest In Peace Mufasa.
Sadly, despite ADI’s efforts to help Mufasa and the progress made in his recovery, the old mountain lion died. The years Mufasa spent tied up and caged had already caused irreparable damage to Mufasa’s health.
In breaking the news, Animal Defenders International highlighted the tragedy that Mufasa did not have time to enjoy freedom, but also the good news that he can still experience freedom.
Wild animals deserve to live in their natural habitat. In some cases, if this is not possible, they should at least have a protected area.
Mufasa was lucky to be rescued, but that doesn’t change the fact that he shouldn’t be part of an illegal circus. Thanks to organizations like ADI and the support of the country’s governments, we hope that such incidents will never happen again.
If you would like to share your thoughts about Mufasa and raise awareness, please do so in the comments. Don’t forget to share his story with your loved ones!