The exhausted bear , called Pizza, is exhibited in an “ocean theme park”, in the Grandview shopping center in Guangzhou , China. Over 285,000 people have signed a petition urging authorities to release “the world’s saddest polar bear”. They want the aquarium in southern China to be closed down.
The exhausted bear, named after a popular Italian food, shows signs of apathy. The aquarium made international press headlines after being opened in January. A Hong Kong animal welfare charity described it as a “horrifying” prison for animals.
The park’s management rejected claims that the animal was neglected at first. They declared that the polar bear is very happy in the aquarium.
However, following increased public concern over the disappointing conditions in which the animals were kept, members of the charity were invited to come visit the aquarium in April.
What they found were tourists posing for selfies beside these animals or banging on windows, to get animals’ attention. The activist group was “shocked” by the international cry for help and looked at alternative solutions for improving conditions.
“Animals Asia” said the aquarium would not be closed, and the animals would not be released or moved to other locations. Among the animals held captive in the Chinese mall are: arctic wolves, walrus calves and beluga whales.
However, last week, the park’s directors committed to give “a better life “ for the animals in the park, as a result of the pressure. Such engagement has previously led to changes for the better at a zoo in Hanoi.
Zoo keepers were convinced to unchain elephants, end “circuses” and provide easier living conditions for tigers and bears.
Dave Neale, from Animals Asia, stated that threatening does not change much. Working together means there’s an actual chance of something being changed for the better.
The amusement park industry is on the rise in China, supported by an increasingly affluent middle class. These people are on the lookout for new forms of collective entertainment.
China currently hosts 39 ocean theme parks. About 12 more are going to open over the next few years. Calls for the aquarium to close have continued on Chinese social media, this week. One user wanted people to “boycott” such theme parks.
Image Source – Flickr