Animal welfare campaigners are trying to free a polar bear kept in a cage in a shopping mall in China.
Animals Asia launched a petition earlier this year to close Grandview Aquarium, where the polar bear and other animals are kept in “poor condition.”
“We are all absolutely distraught for this poor sad animal. A shopping mall is no place for this.”
The organization dubbed the bear, the “world’s saddest polar bear.”
The “zoo” includes two white bears—billed as polar bears but more likely polar bear/brown bear hybrid—five walrus calves, six young beluga whales, and two Arctic wolves in woefully inadequate space, Animals Asia said.
The video below shows the polar bear caged while tourists stop to take photos:
Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said: “There is no excuse for any animal to be trapped this way but it’s widely believed that polar bears are one of the hardest of all animals to effectively provide for in captivity.
“Polar bears require huge amounts of space. Large enough for them to walk, run, climb, and hunt. The list of what they need is very long—to a point whereby you can only really answer that what a polar bear really ‘needs’ is to be free to live life in the wild. This bear has no peace and nothing natural to take comfort in.
“We are calling on the Chinese public not to attend this attraction. We are calling for it to be closed down. This is a bear that suffers for what? For selfies? For shopping?”
Neale said although it was difficult for him to work with people that have chosen to house animals, staff at Grandview were very open when he visited their facility “from top to bottom” for the second time.
“There was no attempt to hide anything from me. We also spoke to more junior staff who actually look after the animals. And now I know that our concerns are theirs too. The day after our visit, following our basic recommendations, the bear keeper provided piles of snow for the bears and is now starting a programme of enrichment.
“Because the sad truth is, in this instance, we can’t immediately shut down Grandview. And they are unlikely to free this bear, or any of the other animals they house, at least not in the short-term,” he said.
More than 400,000 people have signed the petition.