Saturday, July 26, 2014

Arturo, "The World's Saddest Animal"

Sad case: Arturo - Spanish for Arthur - has been at the zoo for two decades, and has had no contact with his own kind since Pelusa died. Now, campaigners are worried that he is suffering mental health issues
I recently signed a petition on calling for Arturo, a polar bear who has been dubbed by many to be "The World's Saddest Animal", to be transferred from his current location at the Mendoza zoo in Argentina to the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg.
Arturo lives in inadequate, hot conditions in the Argentina zoo. A narrated Youtube video (which you can see here:; NOTE: following a warning, it gets graphic partway through-- I didn't watch through to the end) shows that Arturo and a brown bear in another enclosure at the zoo were exhibiting stereotypic behaviour. In the video, Arturo looks sad and lonely. Many people consider him to be depressed, which is very believable when you look at the photos. According to the Daily Mail, "The polar bear has been alone in his enclosure since his partner, Pelusa, died of cancer in 2012. Visitors to the zoo, and animal experts, had reported seeing him pacing nervously in his concrete enclosure, and appearing to struggle with the high temperatures." Although his enclosure is air-conditioned, he still has to spend time in temperatures of "up to 40C (104F)", according to the Daily Mail and others. It is said that his pool is only 50 cm (20 inches) deep. A polar bear should not be kept in sweltering hot temperatures in Argentina! Polar bears are built to live in the cold northern regions of the world, with plenty of space to roam free. Winnipeg seems like a much more suitable option for Arturo; the conditions of the zoo are said to be "world-class". (Of course, animals shouldn't be kept in zoos, but once you've kept an animal in a zoo for his or her whole life, they may not be able to survive in the wild anymore, in which case they just need to be kept in the best, most natural conditions as possible for the rest of their life.)
Unfortunately, the Mendoza zoo is refusing to transfer Arturo. I was saddened to learn this shortly after signing the petition. The zoo claims that Arturo isn't in good enough health to be transferred. They are claiming that his poor health and sad behaviours are due to old age. (As if! If a polar bear acted like this in the wild, he or she would be considered seriously unwell and/or seriously unhappy.)
If you'd like to sign the petition anyway, here's the link:
Just a reminder, everyone, please boycott zoos! Also, we all need to raise awareness about the plight of the animals who are exploited by humans. Every time we educate someone else about the way animals are being harmed, we make a difference. Even if that person doesn't go vegan and boycott animal exploitation right away, we've at least planted a seed in their mind about the matter, so that eventually they may make the right decisions. I'm definitely not suggesting that people can justify hurting animals by saying that they're "not ready to change their lifestyle yet", but at least by raising awareness, they will hopefully become more likely to make good choices in the long run.
Thanks for reading!

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