PERU (2015): [Happy ending] — A mountain lion was taken from the wild as a cub and spent his entire life chained up in the back of a pickup truck in-between performing in a circus. The extent of the cruelty is quite exceptional. The pictures are eye watering. His rescue by Animal Defenders International (ADI) is a relief and his slow reintroduction into a normal life in a contained reserve is a happy ending. He was transferred to the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in a special enclosure.
His given name is Mustafa. You can see the massive harness and chain which he endured between circus acts for 20 years. The picture which made me stop and look is the one where he is being cut free. He has a passive, resigned look on his face. He probably gave up donkey’s years ago.
No doubt he is damaged psychologically which is why it was impossible to contemplate releasing him into the wild properly. He was well beyond that possibility.
He was rescued under ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom after a crack down on performing circus animals in Peru in 2011. Almost 100 animals were rescued during this operation.
Musafa’s owners were reluctant to hand him over. It took 8 hours of negotiations. He was underweight and nervous. He died months after his release but spent his last years feeling as normal as possible, smelling nature and being free of grinding human interference.
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