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Black Pine mourns death of rescued lion

October 4, 2018

Mustafa, a 22-year-old African lion, has died after living the last seven years at Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion.

A statement Thursday from the animal sanctuary said the lion was laid to rest Wednesday.

Mufasa lived previously at a “roadside pseudo-sanctuary and breeding compound” near Monticello before moving to Black Pine by order of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on June 14, 2011, a statement from Black Pine said.

The wildcat was deemed a public safety threat due to the conditions of caging in disrepair. By the time the cat was confiscated and moved, he had been suffering from an infection at the site of a tooth extraction that had occurred years earlier, Black Pine said.

“The Healthcare Committee unanimously made the heartbreaking decision to end any further discomfort for the much loved African male lion, Mufasa,” a statement from Black Pine’s animal healthcare committee said. “When Mufasa arrived over seven years ago, he had an open abscess in his lower jawbone which had not been treated properly for many years and was suffering from poor nutrition. During his years at Black Pine he enjoyed a rich and plentiful daily diet, endured two surgical procedures to address the open wound in his jaw, and was showered with love and an environment full of enrichment to ensure a high quality of life in captivity.”

Mufasa celebrated his 22nd birthday in January. The average captive lifespan for a lion is about 15 years, Black Pine said.

During the past few months, Mufasa’s health declined due to his advanced age and long-term medical issues, including the abscess in his jaw. Recently, he was no longer responding to treatment for the infection in his jaw, which resulted in a refusal to eat and significant weight loss. He suffered loss of muscle mass and arthritis had worsened to the point of obvious pain with movement, the animal sanctuary said.

Lori Gagen, Black Pine’s director, said, “I hope that Mufasa’s story will shed light on the suffering of thousands of exotic animals kept in captivity for the sole purpose of exploitation for profit or entertainment. I urge everyone to carefully weigh their options when it comes to spending money to see or engage with a wild animal, in any context, and be certain they are not enabling poor treatment of animals or endangering the public by supporting bad operators.”

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