Twenty years is a long time. A child can be born and become an adult in that length of time. Five different presidents of the United States can come and go through the White House. It is also the amount of time that this circus lion was chained to a rusty, broken-down pickup truck. After twenty-years of imprisonment, Mustafa the mountain lion finally tasted freedom after animal rights activists worked overtime to get him away from the horrible people who kept him a slave for most of his life.
Animal Defenders International (ADI) and the circus operator did not see eye-to-eye when it came to what should be done with Mustafa. While the animal activists believed that Mustafa deserved a better life than what the circus performers were giving him, the owner of the circus wanted the mountain lion to remain his slave forever.
In a last-ditch effort to get the ADI rescuers off his tail, the circus operator called the riot police into the remote Peruvian village where he was hiding. However, the police sided with ADI and shut down the circus, Circo Koreander. And when the place was shuttered for the last time, the animal rescuers managed to free Mustafa from the chains that held him a slave for the circus operator for the past two decades. It was a moment of freedom that showed on the lion’s face like a glowing star.
ADI wrote in a Facebook post: “He [Mufasa] was old and in very poor health. Had it not been for the person who tipped off ADI, he would have died chained in the back of that truck.”
Once he was rescued, the ADI shelled out a lot of money to get Mustafa the care he needed to regain his health. He underwent veterinary treatments until the lion share of his strength returned to him. However, the twenty years of captivity had broken Mustafa. He was not prepared to be released into the wild. Circo Koreander had ruined the beautiful predator, neutering him from his wild instincts.
However, the ADI refused to let Mustafa suffer for any more time. They decided to do something unprecedented in their effort to give Mustafa a better life. They built the beautiful lion an exclusive shelter within the Peruvian rainforest. It was a sanctuary that Mustafa could enjoy without being put at risk.
In a statement posted on the organization’s website, ADI President Jan Creamer said: “It is magical to see him moving about in and out of the trees in his own piece of protected forest. Mufasa was torn from the wild and has endured the worst possible life.”
The moment when Mustafa is released into his newfound sanctuary is a beautiful one. Unfortunately, the mountain lion did not have long to appreciate it. Mustafa passed away only eight months after ADI saved him from the hellish circus that kept him its slave.
“His life in chains had damaged his health, and he was suffering from kidney failure, cancer, and other age-related problems. We are so sad he did not enjoy more time in his forest habitat, but the real tragedy would have been if he had never experienced that freedom at all,” ADI wrote.
What do you think about the video showing Mustafa’s first moments of freedom?
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