Mountain lion returned to forest after life in back of circus pick-up truck

The Rescue of This Mountain Lion, Chained For 20 Years In A Circus, Will Move You To Tears  

An animal performer’s life in a circus is anything but glamorous, and keeping them captive for the sake of entertainment should no longer be tolerated.

When Mufasa, a mountain lion chained for 20 years in a Peruvian circus was first rescued by Animal Defenders International, you could see in his eyes how his spirit was absolutely crushed. Listless and perhaps clueless, and used to having many staring eyes on him, he watches on as his rescue unfolds, and it is about to change his life forever.

It’s cited in that major circuses have violated the minimal standards of care for their animal performers set by the United States Animal Welfare (AWA). It is very likely that these animals are first broken to ensure their obedience, and then trained by whips and other dreadful and painful tools. They would spend most of their lives in chains and cages, and the quality of how they are transported from one place to another as the circus travels are far from ideal. It is also very likely that the same cruel treatment are experienced by animals in circuses around the world.

Mufasa has been finally released into the Peruvian forest through efforts of ADI and the locals alike. He seems to be in disbelief as he experiences freedom for the first time in 20 years, but you could at last see the light returning to his eyes as he roams the greenery to his heart’s content.

This beautiful mountain lion has since passed away on December 2015, but this video shows how human kindness can still triumph over human ruthlessness, and that initiatives for the rescue of circus animals should be whole-heartedly supported.

This article (Watch: The Rescue of This Mountain Lion, Chained For 20 Years In A Circus, Will Move You To Tears) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and

Western Ringtail Possum has been declared Critically Endangered,

On January 6, 2017, the Minister for Environment declared the Western Ringtail possum, nguara as being Critically Endangered, uplisted from the previous listing of 'Endangered'. Under section 14(4) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950, four mammals, including the western ringtailed possum, woylie, brush-tailed bettong, Gilbert's potoroo, central rock rat, antina were listed as critically endangered.

Phoebe rescued ringtail possum at HideAway Haven

Critically endangered means these mammels are rare or likely to become extinct. Species moved from vulnerable to critically endangered list after numbers dropped by 80% over 10 years to about 8,000 in just three isolated pockets in south-west Western Australia.  Western ringtail possum's endangered status is blamed on feral cats and foxes, frequent fires from prescribed burning, poisoning by rat and snail bait and habitat destruction as land is cleared for housing developments. 

Mr Falconer (FAWNA president) said based on the numbers collected and studied by FAWNA, (Fostering and Assistance for Wildlife Needing Aid. Based in the south west of Western Australia) the group predicted the species had less than 10 years before it became extinct.  Mr Falconer says “The only way to come back from the brink of disaster is if the Government finds some land for a reserve and creates a breeding area for them. There needs to be money spent and reserves protected by fences created.”

Planting peppermint trees, putting water on fences, and keeping cats and dogs inside at night is one way we can all help.

Western Ringtail Possums are nocturnal and sleep in leafy nests in tree-holes during the day. The actual gestation period of Western Ringtail Possums is not known. Births mostly take place in winter. Young emerge at about three months and suckle until six to seven months.

We have Western Ringtail Possums living at HideAway Haven.  We don't see them very often, but they have been known to sit in our Peppermint trees and watch out guests come and go during the night.  Phoebe is our rescued possum cared and reared by our daughter and released by us at HideAway Haven.  We hear her as she chats to us at night if we are outsde.  Too cute :-)


Honey Possum - endemic to the south-west of Western Australia

The honey possum, also known by the native names tait and noolbenger, is a tiny Australian marsupial and unique to Western Australian Banksia woodlands. This mouse-sized marsupial lives on a diet of nectar and pollen. It can drink 7 ml of nectar a day, which would be like a human drinking 50 litres of soft drink! It weighs just 7 to 10 grams and has a tail (88 to 100mm) that's longer than its head and body combined! 

The Honey Possum is endemic to the biodiversity hotspot of south-west of Western Australia. Feeding solely on nectar and pollen, honey possums play a crucial role in pollinating native plants in the south west. 
The honey possum is mainly nocturnal, but will come out to feed during daylight in cooler weather. Generally, though, it spends the days asleep in a shelter of convenience: a rock cranny, a tree cavity, the hollow inside of a grass tree, or an abandoned bird nest. When food is scarce, or in cold weather, it becomes torpid to conserve energy.
They feed on banksias, bottle-brushes, heaths, grass trees and kangaroo paws.  Females give birth to two to three young – joeys – at any time of year, whenever food is abundant.  At birth, they are the smallest of any mammal, weighing 0.005 g. Nurturing and development within the pouch lasts for about 60 days, after which they emerge covered in fur and with open eyes, weighing some 2.5 g.  They stop nursing at around 11 weeks, and start making their own homes. Although the gestation period of a honey possum is quite short, about three weeks, they only raise about four to six young a year in their natural habitat.
Honey Possums have no means of protection and being largely ground dwelling they are highly vulnerable. Factors that threaten them include fire, habitat changes caused by declining rainfall and die-back, and predation by birds and feral animals such as foxes and cats. In spite of set-backs and ongoing environmental changes the endearing and diminutive Honey Possum is not listed as endangered.  Honey possums have a typical lifespan between one and two years.
If a baby or adult possum is found out in the open during day light hours it means something is wrong with the animal and they will require capturing and assessment by an experienced carer.
Baby possums found without their mother should come into care if they are to survive. Juvenile possums may venture short distances from their mothers so observation is necessary of the possum to see if their mother is close by.  
Most injured or orphaned possums are found on the ground. You can catch them by throwing a towel over them and scooping them up. Place one hand at neck and the other at base of tail (if there are no spinal injuries). If spinal injuries leave possum in the position it has chosen to be in and lift into carrier without changing its chosen position. 
Do not lift a possum from under its front legs like a baby. Always have their full body-weight supported by one hand under their rear and another holding them upright but slightly curled around the chest cavity. Minimising the possum's shock and stress is vitally important as shock is often the number one cause of death in injured possums.  Shock is the loss of heat and fluids from the body, which is a natural response to injury. Interaction with humans causes additional stress to an injured animal and this can kill an already shocked possum. 
If you find a baby possum please take it to one of our carers as soon as possible as young possums need regular milk feeds. We do not recommend that you attempt to raise the possum yourself, unless you are a member of a wildlife care organisation such as Fauna Rescue. 
Young possums have very specialised needs and need specialised equipment. Depending on the age it could need hourly feeds and the longer they are without milk the more their chances of survival decrease.

HideAway Haven is a luxury 5 star, award winning hosted bed and breakfast accommodation in Albany, on the Amazing South Coast of Western Australia.  We love creating memories for our guests.  Our passion is also sustainability and the care of our precious wildlife.


Phoebe - ready for release

Our beautiful Phoebe, a Western Ring Tail Possum who was orphaned when she fell of her Mummies back as she was branch hopping between the trees, is now ready to be a big girl in the wild.  Joslyn hand reared Phoebe for several months until she had gained enough weight to be released.  Phoebe has been out the the past several nights, racing across the deck, trying to climb windows and waking us up.  We think she has ventured further a field now as we don't hear her, but every morning we find her fast asleep in her pouch. She is not eating the food we leave out for her, so she must be getting enough to eat during the night. Western Ring Tail Possums love Peppermint Tree leaves and we have plenty of those in our backyard.

There is little knowledge of the social behaviour of Western Ringtail Possums. They are said to be very solitary and mostly live on their own, but our Phoebe loves it when we spend time with her while she is in her pouch.  We don't handle her anymore as she needs to learn to be a wild child, but she knows where she can be safe and warm.

The Western Ringtail Possum is listed as a threatened species. Their legal status under the EPBC Act (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) is "Vulnerable" and under the West Australian Wildlife Conservation Act (1950) they are listed as 'rare or likely to become extinct'.  We are so blessed to have Phoebe here, she can join Polly who is our resident wild possum.

Phoebe came to us from licensed wildlife carers Pauline and Kevin at Dreamers Dream Wildlife Rehabilitation in Mount Barker.  This is now our Sammie Jo's new home.  We are guided by their expertise and knowledge during Phoebes release stage.

"It is such a privilege to share our backyard with a species that cannot be found anywhere else on this entire planet."

Caring for our wildlife is everyone's responsibility

Each year many tens of thousands of native animals are presented for care after being discovered sick, orphaned or injured by members of the community.  The primary aim of rescue and treatment of wildlife should be to rehabilitate and release the animal as quickly and effectively as possible. Animal welfare is a recognition that animals, like us, deserve a life free of pain, discomfort, distress and hunger, and one that reasonably fulfils their physiological, psychological and social needs. Animals that we rescue are often sick, debilitated or suffering from serious injuries;

Who Funds Wildlife Rehabilitation?

Everyone thinks that some agency, probably a government funded one,  protects and cares for wild animals in distress. But this is not the case.  Wildlife carers are trained volunteers who give their time and care free of charge. They pay for the care of wildlife, including VET costs from their own pocket.

Burn out for wildlife carers seems to occur all too frequently these days and it should be everyone’s responsibility to help each other and provide support and finance when we recognise that someone is struggling. 

Little Holly at Dreamers Dream Rehabilitation in Mount Barker.  She was taken into care around Christmas time in 2015.