The Grandview Aquarium, located inside a sprawling shopping mall in Guangzhou, has become notorious for its questionable treatment of its animals, in particular one very sad-looking polar bear named Pizza.
Day in and day out, people crowd around the outside of Pizza’s
prison pen, tapping on the glass, trying to get the mopey bear to move around and pose for a good picture. The blinding flash of cameras has become a non-stop annoyance for the poor creature.
Back in March, the animal welfare group Animals Asia posted a video featuring Pizza — “the world’s saddest polar bear.” They followed that up by releasing a petition calling for the aquarium to be closed and Pizza freed. When we last checked in a few weeks ago, they had collected over 150,000 signatures; now that number is more than 520,000.
Watch the video below:
The aquarium’s mistreatment of animals doesn’t stop with its prized polar bear. Otters swim around in their own feces, beluga whales imprisoned in an undersized enclosure and walruses are given very limited forms of entertainment.
As the animal rights campaign picks up steam, more pictures have hit the internet showing Pizza’s shoddy living conditions.
Still, officials at the aquarium continue to deny any abuse of the polar bear. Workers claim that Pizza’s behavior is as normal as any other polar bear’s. They say that the mammal spends two-thirds of its time dormant. Meanwhile, Li Chengtang, deputy general manager of the aquarium and a member of China Wildlife Conservation Association, said that Pizza arrived at the aquarium at the age of two and has been healthy and active ever since, according to ECNS.
Many animal rights activists have voiced their opinions that polar bears would be better off kept out of captivity. However, studies have shown that captivity does have some benefits for the endangered species. According to Polar Bears International, polar bears have an increased life-span in captivity. Zoos and aquariums are putting the large mammals through a selective reproduction process that will help to reduce disease and increase the population.
However, all of the benefits that come along with captivity is contingent upon the quality of the zoo or aquarium. So far, Grandview appears to be lacking in quality.
Here’s that petition again.
By Robin Winship
[Image via ECNS / CCTV News / Weibo]