Mufasa, a mountain lion, is finally released after 20 years in chains
His name was Mufasa, but he was no king. The actions of men pretending to run a traveling circus made sure of that. For 20 years, Mufasa traveled Peru chained in the bed of an old pickup truck — nothing more than a fast buck for those who ran an illegal circus.
But all that changed thanks to the intervention of Animal Defenders International, according to a report by the Huffington Post. The organization played a pivotal role in helping Peruvian officials free the animal, which took an eight-hour ordeal with its owners, who authorities think poached the animal out of the wild when he was a cub.
Animal Defenders International was able to capture the release, which included Mufasa's first time since being taken to actually walk around unchained in real grass, on YouTube. The video has garnered 5 million views to date.
Jan Creamer, president of the Animal Defenders International, said that it was "heartbreaking" to see Mufasa in chains, according to The Huffington Post. She added in a prepared statement:
"It was magical to see him moving about in and out of the trees in his own piece of protected forest."
Mountain lions are the biggest cats native to the Americas, with a habitat stretching from South America up through Canada, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation.