Watch, enjoy and share as Mufasa, the last wild animal in a Peruvian circus, is cut free from his chains and walks free after 20 years. After Peru banned wild animals in circuses, most circuses defied the law. One by one ADI tracked them down and removed the animals.
Finally in a dramatic stand-off, during which riot police were called, the last circus was cornered and Mufasa was cut from his chains.
A film crew captured the tear full moment Mufasa was released into the wild, having spent the majority of his life shackled in the back of a pick-up truck among rusting equipment.
Even though wild animals are banned from circus performances in Peru, the beast went undetected by authorities as the group travelled between towns.
ADI President Jan Creamer who led the rescue team in Peru said, “It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck. A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time. 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 and will need special care so I hope people will help us give him a wonderful retirement by making a donation today.”
Mufasa’s journey to freedom began in April, when ADI received a tip-off that Circo Koreander was illegally operating with wild animals in an isolated village in northern Peru. ADI, police and wildlife officers moved in for a surprise raid but were met by hostile resistance. An eight hour stand-off saw riot police and a Public Prosecutor called in before Mufasa – Peru’s last wild animal in a circus – was handed over, along with a condor.
Mufasa was cut from his circus chains and taken to ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue centre near Lima to rehabilitate. His appetite and coat condition have improved after receiving specialist veterinary treatment. It is believed that Mufasa was taken from the wild as a baby.
After being nursed back to better health, Mufasa made a 3-day journey by road and boat to his forever home on the edge of the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest.
At the Taricaya Ecological Reserve he joins real-life Paddington bear Cholita, three woolly monkeys, two spider monkeys and a macaw also saved during Operation Spirit of Freedom. During the mission, ADI has provided complete logistical support to Peruvian officials to enforce the wild animal circus ban and tackle the illegal wildlife trade. Nearly 100 animals have been rescued, with most relocated to ADI funded habitats in the Amazon. The mission will conclude with the world’s biggest airlift taking 33 lions to a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.