A heart-breaking video of a polar bear locked up in an enclosure in a Chinese shopping centre has sparked anger. The bear can be seen looking listless as it lays on its side in the tiny enclosure at the Grandview Aquarium in Guangzhou, China.
The majestic animal is reduced to a mere prop for shoppers who knock on the windows of the glass cage, disturbing the bear in order to pose for selfies with it. The tragic animal has been dubbed the saddest polar bear in the world.
Belugas, a walrus and a wolf are also kept on display in the shopping mall.
Animals Asias Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said: Taking animals from their natural environments can never be defended, but when theyre rehomed in conditions like were seeing at the Grandview Aquarium its the worst possible situation.
While those behind this may claim this as education, its clear the motivation here is bottom line profit. As long as businesses are allowed to use animals in this manner, wealth will always be put ahead of welfare.
Just days earlier another polar bear died at Mendoza zoo in Argentina. Hundreds of thousands of people had signed a petition to have the 30-year-old bear named Arturo moved from the heat of Argentina to a zoo in Canada where the temperatures would be cooler.
However, zoo officials said he was too old and weak to be moved to Canada.
There are only 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears left in the world. Last year the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared that the biggest threat to polar bears is climate change. It predicted that within the next 35-40 years, there will be a 30% drop in their population, if the rate of climate change carries on as expected.
Charity Animals Asia have since started a petition to close Grandview Aquarium which so far has garnered over 153,000 signatures.