A British wildlife park is offering a new home to the “world’s saddest polar bear”, who is currently trapped and living alone in a Chinese shopping centre.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster has offered to house the polar bear, called ‘Pizza’.
The animal’s plight made headlines in July after pictures were widely circulated online of its isolation in a small enclosure, being photographed by visitors at a mall in Guangzhou.
More than half a million people have called for the Grandview Aquarium to be closed following a campaign by Animals Asia. The aquarium also houses arctic foxes, a wolf, beluga whales and walrus calves.
Animals Asia, a charity that has been spearheading the campaign to close the Chinese aquarium, welcomed the offer from Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The British park has a specially-created habitat for polar bears.
Animals Asia described Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s ‘Project Polar’ as a “ground-breaking reserve” which is “in total contrast to the cramped Grandview shopping mall facilities”.
Experts say that polar bears suffer greatly in captivity when they are not given adequate room and facilities. Disturbing behaviour has been documented, showing polar bears rocking back and forth.
If Pizza were to be relocated, he would have access to 10 acres and two lakes — the largest lake is more than eight metres deep, allowing him to dive as he would in the wild.
Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s animal welfare director, said: “The good news now for Grandview is that they now have the chance to put their mistake right.
“Thanks to this incredible offer from Yorkshire Wildlife Park there can be a happy ending and the negative publicity they have suffered can yet be turned into a positive news story.
“From talking to them I know they know that mistakes have been made in terms of their animal facilities and ongoing care.
“As an organisation that works with animal carers to provide the best possible environment for animals, we have to say that we would be delighted to see Pizza end up at Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
“There he would not only enjoy incredible facilities, he would also be part of a community of bears.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is offering to take Pizza on the condition that the Grandview agrees not to replace him with another polar bear or any similar-sized animal.
The cost of transferring the bear will be raised if the offer is accepted.