‘Sad­dest po­lar bear’ moved tem­po­rar­ily from Chi­nese mall

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

The “world’s sad­dest po­lar bear” has been moved from a Chi­nese shop­ping mall and sent back to the ocean park where he was born. The move is only tem­po­rary, how­ever, with the Grand­view Aquar­ium in Guangzhou say­ing that he would be re­turned fol­low­ing ren­o­va­tion works. The mall posted on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia that it would “await Pizza’s re­turn”. Al­most a mil­lion peo­ple have signed a pe­ti­tion to close the aquar­ium in Guangzhou where Pizza is kept. Peter Li, China pol­icy spe­cial­ist at Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional, said in a state­ment that Pizza, who lives in­doors at the mall in a small en­clo­sure, would at last “feel the sun on his fur, sniff fresh air and see the sky above him”. “But we im­plore the mall to make this a per­ma­nent move. No amount of ren­o­va­tion could ever make a shop­ping mall a suit­able place for this an­i­mal, and to send him back would be cruel and heart­less.” Mr Li said the mall’s de­ci­sion to move Pizza might be due to him be­com­ing vis­i­bly sick and dis­tressed. “We warned the mall that soon his de­cline would be so ap­par­ent that it would be dif­fi­cult to have him on public dis­play,” he said. The Grand­view Aquar­ium “ocean theme park” has been at the cen­tre of con­tro­versy after it opened in Jan­uary in­side a shop­ping mall. the floor of his en­clo­sure Video footage which later emerged, show­ing Pizza slumped on the floor of his en­clo­sure, earned him the widely used ti­tle of “world’s sad­dest po­lar bear”. The mall did not say ex­actly where Pizza was be­ing taken, but that it was only say­ing “good­bye for a short pe­riod of time,” while it up­graded its ex­hi­bi­tions. It was not clear if Pizza’s widely crit­i­cised en­clo­sure was be­ing mod­i­fied to make it more suit­able for this size and species. The rest of the mall - also home to bel­uga whales, wal­rus calves, a wolf and arc­tic foxes - will stay open. The mall threw a farewell party for Pizza on Sun­day, with pic­tures show­ing chil­dren gath­ered around the ex­hibit and farewell mes­sages wish­ing for his re­turn. “Part­ing is al­ways sad, but you will have a com­fort­ing home to come back to,” it said on Weibo.

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