“Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Let this great man’s unwavering dream of freedom apply not only to humanity, but to all creatures of the earth—for humans cannot be completely free of their chains until the rights for animals are respected and protected. Animal’s blight for freedom goes hand-in-hand with man’s blight for freedom.

“A mountain lion has taken its first steps to freedom after spending 20 years chained to the back of a truck.

With its spirit broken by more than two decades of captivity, this is the moment the circus cat was found in Peru by Animal Defenders International.

For 20 years he was carted from village to village to perform on demand, but earlier this year, Mufasa the mountain lion was finally rescued from an illegal Peruvian circus.

Given his animal instincts seemed to be diminished, it’s likely Mufasa was sold into the exotic pet trade as an infant.

Not even afforded the comfort of a cage, Mufasa was shackled to the open bed of a truck where he’d sleep among the circus tent poles.
“It was heartbreaking to see Mufasa chained among the circus equipment, living on the back of a pickup truck,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International (ADI), said in a statement.
“A heavy harness and chains were wrapped around his body and as we cut them away, he stretched, free, for the first time.”

Luckily for Mufasa, in the wake of Puru’s 2011 ban on performing circus animals, an eight hour stand-off between ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom and his owners culminated in the big cat’s rescue.

Emaciated due to malnourishment, when ADI found him, the mountain lion was in poor health.
However, it wasn’t just his health that suffered, it was his nerves, as rescuers described him as ‘quite nervous’.
Determined to nurse him back to full health and bring him out of his shell, the team at ADI’s Spirit of Freedom rescue centre in Lima, Peru did their best to rehabilitate him.
“His appetite and coat condition have improved after receiving specialist veterinary treatment,” the group said.
It wasn’t long before he bounced back though, paving the way for ADI to ready him for his new home at Taricaya Ecological Reserve.

Unfortunately, Mufasa can never return to the wild, but in lieu of his natural habitat, a bespoke enclosure had been prepared by the reserve to replicate his native environment.

Safe at last, these photos show the heartwarming moment the big cat took his first steps to freedom in his new enclosure.
“Mufasa was torn from the wild and has endured the worst possible life,” Creamer said. “[His] story symbolizes the suffering we have ended.”
“It is magical to see him moving about in and out of the trees in his own piece of protected forest,” Creamer said.” [fuzzfix.com]

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