Hearts all over the internet are breaking for a captive polar bear living in a mall in China.
An online petition was filed back in March by non-profit group Animals Asia, appealing for a white polar bear that’s being kept in Guangzhou, China, to be freed. The makeshift zoo enclosure is also home to another polar bear, six belugas, five walrus calves and a wolf.
These animals are being locked up in the Grandview Shopping Centre in an attraction called the Grandview Aquarium for visitors to take selfies with.
The white polar bear has become the centre of the controversy, after online videos and pictures, meant to draw attention to what’s going on at the mall, went viral. The once magnificent creature is reportedly looking miserable and dejected as visitors consistently knock on its glass cage to get its attention for pictures.
Animals Asia animal welfare director Dave Neale said in a statement: There is no excuse for any animal to be trapped this way.”
Animal rights activists are angered that these animals are being taken out of their natural habitats and caution that it will have detrimental effects on the animals’ health.
Neale added: “‘Taking animals from their natural environments can never be defended, but when they’re re-homed in conditions like we’re seeing at the Grandview Aquarium it’s the worst possible situation.”
Animals Asia’s online petition for the closure and boycott of Grandview Aquarium has gathered over 150,000 signatures since it went up in March.
Just two weeks ago, another captive polar bear at the Argentine zoo died. Dubbed “the world’s saddest polar bear,” Arturo had been living alone for four years since experts say he developed depression-like symptoms after his partner passed away from cancer.
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