In a tense situation as South African courts battle over the fate of a rare white lion in danger of becoming a wall trophy for some wealthy hunter, a “mystery donor” has stepped forward to purchase the three-year-old lion named Mufasa.
According to AbcNews, Mufasa had been confiscated by the government as a cub, after the lion was discovered being kept as a pet without a special license. He was transferred to the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, but was scheduled to be sold at auction; a common practice for confiscated animals. The sanctuary owners have expressed their fear that Mufasa will soon be sold for a “canned hunt” where the wild animals are confined to a small area and hunters pay a bounty to kill them.
On Tuesday, the attorney for the sanctuary stated a “mystery donor” has come forward and is currently in negotiations to purchase Mufasa and a female lion named Soraya; the lions are closely bonded. It is hoped the lions will be relocated to a safe location. It is feared if the lions are separated, Soraya will starve herself. Both are currently being kept together in their enclosure.
Mufasa is sterile and therefore is of no interest to a breeder. There are 300 white lions left in the world and only 13 left in the wild.
The South African government has not commented. A petition to rescue the lions has garnered more than 286,000 signatures,
“Nature conservation officials refused permission for Mufasa to be relocated to a sanctuary, who offered to care for both Mufasa and Suraya for their natural lives, free of charge. Instead, the rehab centre was told telephonically that Mufasa will be auctioned to raise funds for the department.”
Shame on these people.