Leo and Mueca have been friends for virtually their whole lives. Animal Defenders International rescued the lions and their offspring from a circus in Peru in 2014. (ADI). They were temporarily separated during their rescue, but they were seldom apart after that.
“Leo and their boys, Chino, Coco and Rolex, were successfully removed during a raid on the first day of the expedition in August 2014, but the circus stopped the seizure partway through and then went into hiding,” Jan Creamer, president of ADI, told The Dodo. “ADI found them six months later, nearly 600 miles away, and saved Mueca and their kids, Africa and Kiara… They were nearly always together as they explored their 4-acre area and slept under the trees.” Mueca became i.ll unexpectedly in August, and Leo became much more protective of her than he was already.
“Leo has always kept an eye on Mueca, but when she fell ill, he definitely understood something was wrong,” Creamer explained. “He was spotted encouraging her to consume her food and appearing to console her.” Leo kept an eye on Mueca when she was unwell and even caressed her to make her feel better. It was evident how much the duo loved each other at those moments, a magnificent example of how lions display their love.
“On several instances, we have witnessed the closeness of lion friends and the ties they have,” Creamer added. According to research, lions snuggle to build their social relationships, and Leo and Mueca were seen snuggling several times over their years together.
Mueca died in September at the age of 19 years. Leo stood by her side till the very end, and she left this world knowing how much he loved her. Leo’s rescuers have been monitoring him closely as he gri.eves the loss of his beloved Mueca. To help him cope, he’s been getting tons of additional goodies and attention. While losing Mueca was devastating, witnessing Leo care for her was a lovely experience that everyone around him will remember for years to come.