Animal rights groups are urging that Pizza, the world's saddest polar bear, on display in a shopping mall in southern China, be sent home for good.
The mall authorities have temporarily moved the bear to a zoo in the northeastern city of Tianjin, its birthplace, where it will be reunited with its parents.
The three-year-old bear has become the centre of global attention since Hong Kong-based Animals Asia posted a video of the animal living inside a glass-walled enclosure in Grandview Mall Aquarium in the city of Guangzhou this year.
Pizza was sent to the zoo to make alterations to the mall, but the aquarium will remain open during its absence. The upgrade includes doubling the size of the bear's living area, The Guangzhou Daily reported. It is not clear when Pizza is expected to return.
According to animal rights groups, conditions in the mall are unsuitable for the bear because of cramped living conditions. It has been dubbed as a "horrifying" animal prison. Almost a million people have signed a petition to close the aquarium in Guangzhou where Pizza was kept. Hundreds of other Arctic animals are also housed in it.
Reportedly, the baby bear has been offered a new home by the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, UK, but the Chinese authorities have refused it. According to many campaigners, sending Pizza back to the mall would be "cruel and heartless". Visitors bang on the glass to click selfies with Pizza. China does not have animal welfare laws.