In 2011 Peru banned the use of wild animals in circuses and while most adhered to the new ban one circus was, four years after it came into effect, still keeping a wild animal. That animal was Mufasa the mountain lion who had spent 20 years of his life chained up in the back of a pickup truck in amongst rusting circus equipment.
Circo Koreander had gone undetected by traveling between remote Peruvian villages, but then earlier this year wildlife officials and members of the Animal Defenders International (ADI) rescued Mufasa, who was believed to be the last wild animal held in a Peruvian circus.
They think Mufasa was taken from the wild as a baby, but now he has returned to it. After he was rescued from the circus he was nursed back to health and then released in the Tambopata reserve in the Amazon rainforest.
"It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck." ADI president Jan Creamer said. "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.”