- Title: New video of "the world's saddest polar bear" released in Beijing
- Date: 27th October 2016
- Summary: BEIJING, CHINA (OCTOBER 25, 2016) (REUTERS) SCREEN SHOWING VIDEO OF 'PIZZA' WALKING IN AQUARIUM YU SPEAKING HONORARY PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF VSHINE ANIMAL PROTECTION ASSOCIATION, YU HONGMEI SPEAKING AT PODIUM WHILE NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 11th November 2016 05:51
- Keywords: China polar bear world's saddest polar bear Humane Society International animal protection
- Location: BEIJING/GUANGZHOU, CHINA
- City: BEIJING/GUANGZHOU, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA00255S53D1
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A new video of a polar bear that has been kept captive in a Chinese shopping mall was released on Tuesday (October 25) at a news conference held by animal rights groups, in order to urge the closure of the aquarium and raise awareness for animal protection.
The aquarium, located in Grandview Shopping Mall in southern city of Guangzhou, has been making headlines since it opened in January, after Chinese netizens posted photos of dead fish or depressed-looking animals in the aquarium.
In the latest footage released by animal rights group Humane Society International (HSI) and its Chinese partner group VShine Animal Protection Association, a polar bear named Pizza was seen head swaying and repetitively pacing along a path of about 10 metres, which the HSI said was the evidence of the bear's frustration and mental decline.
It said on its website on Tuesday that one million petition signatures had been collected all over the world calling for the closure of the Grandview Aquarium, with an open letter to Guangdong province's governor Zhu Xiaodan jointly signed by 50 Chinese animal groups asking the government to shut down the aquarium.
VShine's founder and honorary president Yu Hongmei said she hoped more people could realise Pizza's poor living condition and similar cases could be reduced.
"We hope to raise more people's awareness so they can pay attention to the miserable experience of polar bear Pizza through this news conference in order to make Grandview Mall correctly realize the problem that a shopping mall is not a place to exhibit animals. (They should) provide an appropriate place for Pizza and other wild animals that is suitable for animal nature and animal welfare. In the meantime, we hope the relevant supervision departments are able to pay attention to this issue and control the trend of more potential cases of exhibition of animals in shopping malls across the country," Yu told Reuters.
On a broader scale, she expressed her wish that mankind should reduce animal use.
"We are now protecting the welfare of animals. We hope to achieve the minimum basic standards. But many countries still need more effort in making sure the animals have the independent rights to live. There is still a long way to go in having all the wild animals to return to nature and human beings can curb our own desires to reduce the unlimited usage of animals," Yu added.
Pizza is a three-year-old female polar bear, and has been living in the aquarium for less than one year, Grandview Mall Aquarium told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Grandview Mall Aquarium told Reuters that relevant media reports on Pizza did not reflect the animal's actual conditions at the aquarium.
They said Pizza was housed, within a legal framework, in a large tank of 150 square metres (1614.59 sq ft) and a team of professionals provides her with daily medical care and ensures she has a rich living environment.
"Understanding the mental health of Pizza the polar bear and other animals is one of our most important jobs on a daily basis," the aquarium told Reuters in an emailed statement.
They said that they had received "no such invitations" from any zoos around the world offering Pizza a new home.
They also elaborated that captive-born and captive-bred animals, including polar bear Pizza, cannot survive in the wild without undergoing long-term wilderness training.
A public notification published on September 14 on the Guangzhou's environmental protection bureau website showing the company was applying for environment assessment for the second-phase project - a zoo in the shopping mall.
Animals including giant pandas and white tigers will be brought into the expanded area of 5,905 square metres, which is expected to be opened next January, Guangdong's official newspaper, the Southern Daily, reported.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park in the UK offered a new home to Pizza last month, on the basis of Grandview agreeing not to replace her with another polar bear or similar-sized animal, Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia said on its website.
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