Crit­ics ac­cuse mall of mis­treat­ing po­lar bear

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - ZHENG CAIXIONG

A busy shop­ping mall in Guangzhou has been crit­i­cized for hav­ing a po­lar bear on dis­play to at­tract vis­i­tors to the Guang­dong provin­cial cap­i­tal.

The 4-year-old fe­male, which is be­ing kept at the Grand­view Plaza aquar­ium in a 40-squareme­ter glass en­clo­sure that has a small pool, has been de­scribed as the sad­dest bear in the world by some me­dia re­ports.

Some res­i­dents have com­plained that the bear is be­ing mal­treated, as it is be­ing dis­played in such a small area.

ChenWen­zhou, a white-col­lar worker in Guangzhou, said: “The bear should live in a world of ice and snow at the North Pole. How can she live in Guangzhou where the tem­per­a­ture has reached more than 36 C out­side?

“She ap­pears rest­less and anx­ious be­cause she is liv­ing in such a small area and has to face a large num­ber of vis­i­tors each day,” Chen said.

A 7-year-old girl, sur­named Huang, said she likes the bear, de­scrib­ing it as cute. “But I hope she can be happy,” Haung said af­ter vis­it­ing the an­i­mal.

Li Cheng­tang, an ex­ec­u­tive from Grand­view Aquar­ium, said the bear has be­come used to her en­vi­ron­ment.

De­spite the high tem­per­a­tures out­side, the tem­per­a­ture in the aquar­ium is be­tween 17 and 18 C, while the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture in the pool is about 8 C, Li said.

Li added that the bear had left her mother at the age of 2. The an­i­mal was ex­am­ined and found to be healthy when it was taken to live in the mall’s aquar­ium.

In ad­di­tion to rou­tine monthly health checks, the aquar­ium en­sures the bear has qual­ity and suit­able food ev­ery month. Li also said the aquar­ium has been au­tho­rized by govern­ment de­part­ments to care for the an­i­mal.

Sun Quan­hui, a se­nior Chi­nese sci­en­tific con­sul­tant with­World An­i­mal Pro­tec­tion, said keep­ing a bear in such a busy shop­ping mall and it be­ing viewed by large crowds would af­fect the an­i­mal’s psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion.

“The best way to pro­tect such an­i­mals is to re­lease them back into the wild,” Sun added.

Zhang Xiao­hai, ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the Bei­jing Lov­ing An­i­mals Foun­da­tion, said, “We should not pre­vent an­i­mals from de­vel­op­ing their nat­u­ral in­stincts when we raise them.”

In ad­di­tion to clean food and wa­ter, a suit­able liv­ing en­vi­ron­ment is needed, Zhang added.

Lo­cated in Guangzhou’s Tianhe dis­trict, Grand­view Plaza cov­ers 57,000 square me­ters.

XIAO XIOANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

The po­lar bear at the Grand­view Plaza aquar­ium in Guangzhou is the cen­ter of at­ten­tion for vis­i­tors over the week­end.

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