Guangzhou, China — A sad polar bear will be relocated to a happier environment, thanks to the actions of animal rights activists.
The three-year-old polar bear, named Pizza, has been on display at the Grandview Shopping Mall Aquarium in the city of Guangzhou, China, where for some time he’s been moping in a 120-square-metre enclosure that lacks both natural air and natural light.
The animal is the subject of numerous selfies, with visitors constantly banging on the walls of his room. But Pizza’s plight was revealed to animal lovers around the word in September 2016. That’s when a viral video revealed the animal sulking lifelessly in his sterile, glass-walled home.
According to Peter Li, a spokesperson for Humane Society International,
“Pizza the polar bear has endured a life of deprivation and suffering in his small, artificial glass-fronted room at the shopping mall.”
Pizza has been called “The saddest polar bear in the world.”
Following worldwide revelations about the bear’s living conditions, the UK’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered to give Pizza a better home. But Chinese authorities refused the offer.
Meanwhile, animal rights groups in China joined an international movement in condemning the Grandview Mall Aquarium.
Now, as a result of a Humane Society International petition with more than one million signatures, Pizza will be relocated to an ocean-park home in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin. This is where Pizza’s parents also live.
Li says of the decision to send Pizza to the new environment,
“The news that he’s getting out at last makes me very happy and relieved for him.”
“At last he will feel the sun on his fur, sniff fresh air, and see the sky above him in the company of his mum and dad.”
The planned move is meant to be a temporary one as the mall is upgraded with alternations that will improve living conditions for the furry white giant. It is intended that the mall and its aquarium will remain open during Pizza’s absence, according to an official statement from the Grandview Mall Aquarium.
However, animal rights activists are doing their best to ensure that Pizza’s ocean-park home will become permanent, saying that even with modifications, conditions in the mall are unsuitable for displaying wildlife. Indeed, the Humane Society International petition calls for a permanent shutdown of the mall’s animal display, which also includes belugas whales, walruses, and arctic foxes.
A spokesperson from the Grandview Mall Aquarium has confirmed, “Pizza the polar bear will temporarily leave Guangzhou and return to his birthplace.”
However, the announcement failed to note when Pizza the Polar Bear might return to the aquarium enclosure, which is expected to remain windowless in spite of the modifications.
Peter Li says that sending Pizza back to the mall aquarium after a visit to his former home and his parents would be “cruel and heartless.”
“No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal,” he continues.
Li concludes, “We implore the mall to make this a permanent move for Pizza and to not condemn him to return.”