A circus lion who spent his life chained up in the back of a pick-up truck has been returned to the forests of Peru.
Mufasa, a mountain lion, was part of a Peruvian circus, despite Peru’s ban on wild animals in circuses, and there seemed little hope for him as the circus went undetected, moving between remote villages.
However after being tipped off over social media, Animal Defenders International (ADI) and wildlife officials rescued Mufasa from the circus.
The heated raid saw police reinforcements called in. After an hours long standoff between the circus, locals and police, the circus owner backed down and gave thelion to ADI.
Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, told The Dodo.
It was absolutely the most sad, wretched thing that you’ve ever seen, to see a beautiful animal pushed into a corner, It was like he wasn’t even alive.
Mufasa was one of the last animals freed as part of ADI’s months-long Operation Spirit of Freedom, which was a crackdown on performing animals after Peru’s 2011 ban on circus animals.
The project has saved nearly 80 animals but has struggled, despite help from the Peruvian government.
Legal proceedings are now underway concerning the circus’s obstruction of the seizure and to try and secure a monkey still with the circus.
Mufasfa has now been returned to the Peruvian forest where he belongs.