This a beautiful story about loyalty and commitment, between a very protective lion and the lioness he loved. Leo and Muñeca are the very prove that wild animals can have strong feelings, too. These two beautiful creatures stayed together until the female sadly passed, during the good times, but especially during the tough ones!
The majestic Leo and his queen Muñeca have been next to each other their entire lives. Lives that weren’t easy, because the two were part of a circus in Peru, South America, for many years. Fortunately, they were rescued in 2014 thanks to the great efforts of the Animal Defenders International. Although the couple was separated during their rescue, they were reunited shortly after.
“Leo and their sons, Chino, Coco and Rolex, were successfully removed during a raid on the first day of the mission in August 2014,” the president of Animal Defenders International, Jan Creamer explained to THE DODO. “..six months later, Muñeca and their daughters, Africa and Kiara, were also saved.”
Sadly, shortly after the whole family was finally reunited, Muñeca got sick. It was the moment when Leo revealed what he’s capable of. Even though he had always been protective with his best friend and soul mate, now he was even more. He stayed by Muñeca’s side, comforting her and letting her now he will be there until the end.
“He [Leo] has always watched over Muñeca, but when she became unwell, he clearly realized something was wrong,” Creamer said. “He was seen trying to encourage her to eat her food, and appeared to comfort her.”
Heartwarming photos taken by the volunteers of the Animal Defenders International, shows an overprotective Leo cuddling up with his lioness!
A few weeks after getting sick, Muñeca has sadly passed away, leaving Leo heartbroken. She was 19 years old! Leo was visible affected by the loss, so the staff who is taking care of him offered him treats, trying to cheer him up in this way. Now, Leo remained next to their five children, to look after them, too!
Here’s a video of Leo and Muñeca!