In 2011, the Peruvian government placed a historic ban on circuses using animals for entertainment. However, the circus industry was reluctant to comply, keeping their animals in horrific conditions and using these cruel measures for personal profit.
So the amazing folks at Animal Defenders International began the long process of rescuing every single animal that's still suffering in these conditions. Thanks to incredible support from kind strangers, including a sizable donation from television veteran Bob Barker, the organization has been able to rescue over 80 animals.
Although their plan is a positive one, rescuers are met with deep sadness every day. On a recent mission, for example, they found this poor mountain lion that had only ever known pain and suffering.
When he wasn't being dragged into performances, this beautiful creature spent his days chained up in a truck bed.
Mustafa was sold into the exotic pet industry when he was still a baby.
Emaciated and clearly in need of medical attention, he spent his entire life in chains.
Circus owners attempted to stage a riot in order to keep their enslaved animals, but they finally relented at the threat of heavy fines.
This tiger named Hoover was found 24 hours later in a separate circus. He lived in the same deplorable conditions.
Like Mustafa's former owners, these people also attempted to riot against the rescue, but could not fight the laws that were stacked against them.
Condorito, a condor, had his wings clipped in order to keep him flightless and powerless.
But there is hope that his flight feathers will grow back, which would help him return to the wild.
Though the mission has officially come to an end with Mustafa's rescue, ADI is currently working on building a home for him and need help funding the project. You can contribute to Mustafa finally finding a natural habitat by making a donation.
The organization will also continue keeping a close eye on the area for further illegal activity. They also have plans to investigate Colombia and Mexico for similar cases following legislation in both countries outlawing the use of animals in circus entertainment. You can find updates on their ongoing missions on Facebook and Twitter.