Argentina zoo officials have decided not to relocate a polar bear to a wildlife park in Canada, despite calls from animals rights activists who say the bear is overly stressed and unhappy in his current environment.
More than half a million people have signed a petition for the polar bear, Arturo, to be relocated to a zoo that specializes on polar bears in Winnipeg, Canada, but Mendoza Zoo director Gustavo Pronotto has said that the 28-year-old bear is too old to undergo sedation and survive the trip, according to the Daily Mail.
In February, vets also said that the bear should stay in its current zoo.
“Arturo is close to his caretakers,” Pronotto said. “We just want everyone to stop bothering the bear.”
He added that he thinks the bear is showing signs of stress because of his old age and not because of his location in the hot Argentina zoo.
Arturo has been alone in his air-conditioned vicinity since 2012, when another bear named Pelusa died of cancer.
Animal rights activists who launched the petition to move him named him “the world’s saddest animal” because of the way he paces back and forth in his enclosure, sometimes swaying and showing his teeth while leaning his head to the side. Some environmental groups have said that it is wrong to keep Arturo in an enclosure with a shallow pool and to ignore signs of stress he has displayed.
“He has been filmed rocking back and forth in a way that signals distress,” said Argentinian professor Fernanda Arentsen, who has advocated for the bear’s relocation. “It breaks my heart to see it. I’m from Mendoza. I know how hot summer is. There is no way for him to escape the heat ... You can imagine a polar bear in the desert with a swimming pool 50cm deep. It’s difficult to watch this poor animal suffering and in pain.”
Source: Daily Mail, Photo Credit: Daily Mail