Mystery Donor Could Spare Rare White Lion from Trophy Hunters

There are fewer than 300 white lions existing in the world today, and three year old Mufasa is one of them. He has lived at the Rustenburg Wildlife “Wild for Life” Rehabilitation Centre sanctuary in South Africa ever since he was confiscated as a cub from his private owner in Pretoria, who was keeping him without a permit. Over the past three years, Mufasa has developed a strong bond with another sanctuary lion named Suraya.

But Mufasa’s peaceful days at the sanctuary may be numbered. As it has done with other confiscated wild animals, the government of South Africa has ordered the sanctuary to give up Mufasa, so the rare lion can be sold at an auction. Because Mufasa was sterilized and is infertile, the winning bidder will probably be one of the country’s popular canned hunting operations – and Mufasa’s sad fate is to be shot and killed by some loser who will pay big bucks for this despicable thrill.

Another terrible possibility is that the winning bidder will kill Mufasa and sell his remains. Lion bones are very popular in some Asian countries, where they’re believed to have virility and medicinal properties. South Africa happens to be the largest exporter of tiger bones to those countries.

According to the report The Extinction Business published last summer, in 2017 Edna Molewa, South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, set the country’s annual export quota to 800 lion skeletons. Yes, that’s 800 lion skeletons too many, yet this year, Molewa shockingly almost doubled that quota, to 1,500 skeletons.

In an effort to prevent Mufasa from perhaps becoming one of those exported skeletons, Dr. Tjitske Schouwstra, a veterinarian who cared for the rare white lion, and Carel Zietsman, the attorney for Wild for Life, are embroiled in a legal battle with the South African government.

“We believe Mufasa and Suraya (who is also facing the same fate) have the right to live the rest of their natural lives in a sanctuary where they will be as close to free as is humanly possible,” Zietsman told Pretoria News.

The sanctuary offered not only to relocate the two lions to the 7,000-acre SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary about 260 miles north in Limpopo, South Africa but to also pay for their care for the remainder of their lives. The government refused this generous proposal.

As many news reports about Mufasa have mentioned, more than 325,000 people have signed a Care2 petition that Zietsman started and has raised awareness of the lion’s situation. The petition urges the government not to sell him at auction. Celebrities like Ricky Gervais have expressed their outrage.

“If it hadn’t been for the social media, Mufasa’s head would have been on somebody’s wall already,” Zietsman told NBC News.

Perhaps it was social media that motivated an unidentified good Samaritan to offer to pay for a new enclosure for Mufasa and Soraya in a sanctuary, if the government agrees to stop the auction, according to Wild for Life’s online fundraising page. The sanctuary is also collecting donations to help cover the costs of moving the lions to another sanctuary.

“I cannot give you too much detail at this stage as the negotiations are in a sensitive stage, but we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to buy Mufasa and Soraya and relocate them somewhere safe,” Zietsman told ABC News on Nov. 19.

Take Action

With South America under fire for its exportation of lion bones and worldwide outrage growing over Mufasa’s possible fate, it would be a wise move for the government to do the right thing by sparing the life of this rare lion. Please sign and share this petition urging the government to allow Mufasa and Soraya to spend the rest of their lives in a sanctuary.

And if, like Carel Zietsman, you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo credit: GervaisAnimals/Twitter

108 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y5 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J5 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Marija M
Marija M6 months ago

tks

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner6 months ago

Like too many governments in the world. the South African government is a government of criminals.

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Daniel v
Daniel v6 months ago

truly a so called sport for cowards .hunting old animals that are not really wild ,and hunting them in controlled environment ,with out any change .make me sick to be part of my species .shame on you south African authorities .wish we could auction of some of our leaders and people involved in these kind of things. And I will leave ad that. And try not to lower myself to these despicable humans

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Marguerite W
Marguerite White6 months ago

I hope the good samaritan who will save the lions gets many blessings as he/she is a truly good person.I truly hope the lions will be auctioned to the person who wants to save them.

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Marija M
Marija M6 months ago

tks for sharing

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John W
John W6 months ago

Thanks

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