Mufasa is a rare white lion in the Rustenburg wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, and this setup in South Africa is engaged in a legal battle against the government.

The fate of this three-year-old-lion hangs in the balance because the government wants to take over his custody and the sanctuary fears that the life of animal will be under threat. He will probably be auctioned off to the highest bidder and be killed. Hence, the concern among lovers of wildlife is growing at the international level.

Fox News reports that the South African wildlife sanctuary is ready to embark on a legal battle against the government in order to retain custody of the animal.

The lawyer of the rehab center has indicated that there is sympathy for the white lion which is evident from the huge response to an online petition.

The history of Mufasa

South African police had confiscated Mufasa from its owner when he was a cub. This was because the owner did not have proper papers to prove his claims. He treated the rare white lion as a pet, and after confiscating the animal, the police handed him over to the Rustenburg Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in late 2015.

The government now wants to take him back.

It argues that the criminal case against the owner is resolved and the department wants to shift the animal to a larger sanctuary. That was apparently the original plan before Rustenburg entered the scene.

However, an official of the rehabilitation center claims that the government will put up the lion for auction to “recover legal costs.” Hence, the sanctuary has launched a fundraising drive to finance the legal battle.

They do not want the white lion to become someone’s trophy and are determined to save him from death at the hands of hunters. Incidentally, this tussle has attracted the attention of some celebrities who have criticized the move of the government.

Mufasa belongs to a near extinct species

According to Daily Mail UK, Mufasa is one of less than 300 white lions in the world today, and there are only 13 of them left in the wild.

It falls in the category of an Endangered Species and must occupy an important place in the scheme of things. However, he is at a disadvantage because he is infertile.

A vasectomy was performed on him and, hence, he would not be of use to any breeder. His only commercial value will be as a target for hunters, which is why authorities in South Africa want to put it up for auction. However, a humanitarian approach is necessary to solve a problem of this nature.