A British wildlife park is offering up new digs for the “world’s saddest polar bear,” which can currently be found trudging around inside a Guangzhou mall.
Back in March, the animal welfare group Animals Asia posted a video starring the “sad” polar bear, followed by a petition calling for the aquarium inside the mall to be closed. That petition has now received over 580,000 signatures
Thanks to international attention following the video and petition, Guangzhou’s Grandview Aquarium has become infamous for its poor treatment of its animals. Inside the aquarium, the polar bear named Pizza lives in a cramped environment, beset by tapping tourists anxious to snap pictures of the bear.
In contrast, Doncaster, England is home to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and its ground-breaking “Project Polar,” which aims to become the international center for the conservation and rehabilitation of polar bears. At the park, Pizza would live in a 10-acre habitat with two lakes, one of them eight-meters deep.
Animal Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale says that the Grandview Aquarium ought to take advantage of this rare chance at some positive publicity:
The good news now for Grandview is that they now have the chance to put their mistake right. Thanks to this incredible offer from Yorkshire Wildlife Park there can be a happy ending and the negative publicity they have suffered can yet be turned into a positive news story. From talking to them I know they know that mistakes have been made in terms of their animal facilities and ongoing care.
Still, in the past, the aquarium has firmly denied that Pizza is sad. Workers claim that Pizza behaves just like any other polar bear and that he has been healthy and active since arriving at the aquarium at age two.
Earlier today, the aquarium rejected the proposal, saying that it had no need for “foreign interference,” AFP reports.
The Grandview Aquarium boasts a very spacious 58,000 square meters of floor space; however, much of that space is taken up by facilities like a restaurant, performance area and souvenir shop. Little is left over to be reserved as the animals’ quarters.
If Pizza does manage to make it out someday, then we’re sure his buddies will be happy for him, but they’ll also hold out hope that someday he’ll come back for them.