We don’t give animals enough credit sometimes. It’s easy to assume that the animals we see in the wild or zoos are just mindless beasts, there for our amusement and personal enjoyment. That is until you get to know them. Any time spent with earth’s incredible animals is an easy way to convince you that they are deserving of love and affection like any human is.
Jupiter the lion shows us just how meaningful relationships can be, even for a huge cat!
Jupiter is a lion that was rescued from some pretty terrible conditions. He was in a circus ring as a newborn and was poorly treated since he was born. While some circus’ have decent facilities to take care of their lions, it’s nothing like what they are born for. The open savannah and a circus ring are about as different environments as you can imagine.
His mother had been seriously abused at the circus he was born into.
When rescuers heard about the circus’s conditions, they decided they were going to save the animals involved. Going in on their mission, they were able to rescue Jupiter shortly after he was born, saving him from a life of the same fate as his abused mother. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the tough times for Jupiter.
After being rescued, he was sent to a Colombian rescue for abused animals.
Jupiter needed some personal care and was sent to an animal shelter in Colombia, where he was taken care of. During his stay at the Colombian rescue, he was treated kindly for the first time in his life. Meeting Ana Julia Torres, the shelter’s founder, she and Jupiter fell in love. Torres understood the past that Jupiter had experienced and was a calm presence for the hurting big cat.
You would think she was crazy!
Most people are totally fine to “love lions from a distance.” For Torres, that wasn’t an option. She would walk right into the enclosure and hug and play with the massive cat without a single bit of fear! Every time she would see him waiting at the gate of the enclosure she would walk up and the two would hug like humans!
The good times weren’t to last.
In 2017, environmental agencies weren’t happy with the paperwork that Torres had. They came in and removed almost 200 animals from her care. The move was devastating to Torres, especially because Jupiter was one of those animals. The authorities relocated Jupiter to the Los Caimanes Zoo and that was that.
In an interview with Torres, you could see how heartbroken she was.
Losing Jupiter was like losing a kid for her. The two were best friends and inseparable.
“It’s terrible. It’s like a 19-year-old son was taken away from me. I had seen him grow as a child, as a young lion, and to adulthood.”
On February 20th, Torres decided to visit her friend at the new zoo.
When she arrived, she was shocked.
Jupiter was skeletal. He had lost hundreds of pounds and was in the worst condition of his life. Since he had lost so much weight, he was starting to have liver and kidney issues. Torres told reporters that she didn’t even recognize the lion in front of her. Her best friend was wasting away.
With the internet’s help, the Colombian officials announced that Jupiter would be granted a closer spot to Torres to allow her to care for him.
The news was massive. Torres was going to be able to take care of her friend! Soon, Jupiter was getting the treatment he needed, and, more importantly, from the person he loved. Now, the city is doing its best to care for the lion. He is finally home and is ready to find peace with his best friend.
Unfortunately, in March 2020, Jupiter was diagnosed with liver cancer. The lion was airlifted to a hospital, but he lost his battle with the disease.
While Jupiter is sadly no longer with us, we’re so glad he got to see the woman he loves most before he passed away. If you’d like to see the video of Jupiter reuniting with his mom, check it out below.
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