Leo and Muñeca have been lifelong companions. This couple of lions and their family were rescued from a circus in 2014 by Animal Defenders International (ADI). Couples have rarely been apart except during the rescue mission.


“Leo and their sons, Chino, Coco and Rolex, were successfully removed during a raid on the first day of the mission in August 2014, but the circus blocked the seizure partway through and then went into hiding,” Jan Creamer, president of ADI, mentioned The Dodo. during an interview.

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Jan continued, “ADI caught up with them six months later and over 600 miles away, saving Muñeca and their daughters, Africa and Kiara … They were almost always together, exploring their 4-acre habitat and resting together under the trees.”


Unfortunately, Muñeca started to feel lethargic and sick in August. 

Jan stated how Leo became very protective of Muñeca.

“Leo has always kept an eye on Muñeca, but it was evident when she fell ill that something was off,” “He seemed to comfort her and was observed trying to get her to eat her food.”


Even though to the human eye lions are scary and majestic, Leo showed how affectionate a lion can be to his lioness. As days passed, Leo tried to cuddle and hug to make sure Muñeca was okay.

“We have frequently witnessed the intimacy and bonds that exist between lion companions,” Creamer stated.

Jan stated how they had seen Leo and Muñeca cuddled numerous times throughout the years they have been with ADI. Researchers noted that the cuddling of lions indicates how lions try to strengthen the bond they have with each other.


Unfortunately, Muñeca passed away in September. She was 19 years old at the time. Muñeca had no doubt of the love Leo had for her because Leo was right next to her the entire time.

After Muñeca’s death, Leo’s rescuers are making sure to give more attention and care for Leo to cope with his loss. Rescuers are trying to keep him well fed by giving him extra treats as well. Even though Muñeca’s death is heartbreaking it is wonderful to see how lion husband supported his lioness even at the deathbed of her. Stating that love has no boundaries even animals are capable of loving unconditionally.


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