The world's saddest polar is getting the break he so desperately needs.
As True Activist previously reported, Pizza is the world’s saddest polar bear because of the horrible conditions he lives in. He’s housed at Grandview Aquarium in Guangzhou, China, which is actually an aquarium located inside of a shopping mall.
The aquarium does not allow its animals to have access to sunlight and keeps them in highly confined rooms and areas that don’t allow them to behave regularly. Many have petitioned for the animals’ release, but the aquarium has continued to run as usual and defend the living conditions at their facility.
Pizza has been a focal point for animal lovers seeking to close the aquarium, as his sad face unmistakably exhibits the depression he feels everyday. He has been declared the world’s saddest polar bear, but he’s getting a temporary break from his awful home because the aquarium is upgrading their facility.
Grandview announced on Chinese social networking site Weibo, according to a translation provided by Humane Society International (HSI):
“Due to upgrading of exhibition halls, as a testament to urban renewal of Guangzhou, a result of the harmonious collaboration between commerce and tourism, and a witness to urban compassion and hearts of love, Pizza, the ‘bear baby’ loved by millions of tourists will say goodbye for a short period of time.”
“To say goodbye to this polar bear prince and at the request of the visitors, we shall hold a great and special farewell party for him.” Many believe that the party might have been greater if his relocation was permanent, but a short time away from this shopping mall should serve Pizza well.
He’s reportedly been taken to an undisclosed marine animal park where his parents live and where he was bred. Though the conditions of this particular place are unknown, if the animals have access to sunlight it would be an infinitely better place to live than in a mall.
Pizza has been exhibiting stereotypic behavior for the last year now, as many experts have pointed out, because his living space is so small and lacking enriching toys and activities. Videos of Pizza have shown him pacing back and forth endlessly, violently swinging his head back and forth, chewing on a metal grate in hopes of escape, and throwing himself on the floor. Experts say he acts in this way because he is actually going crazy from his unnatural enclosure.
“This is the animal’s attempts to cope with stressful, aversive situations such as barren enclosures, boredom and constant disturbance by visitors,” Alastair Macmillan, a veterinary adviser for HSI, said at the time. “The conditions in which he is being kept are completely unsuitable, vastly removed from anything approaching his natural habitat, and if something is not done then he will likely slip further and further into mental decline.”
Unfortunately, HSI is worried that Pizza’s health has declined even further, as predicted, and that this is the real reason that he has been relocated. If he has recently appeared even worse than usual, this may be a driving factor in getting him out of the spotlight and away from tourists, who could report that he looks as horrible as he feels.
Thankfully, even if this were the case, HSI and others advocating for Pizza are hopeful that his time away from the facility will impact him positively and improve his overall health. While this might be a step in the right direction, it’s not the end for Pizza. His supporters will stop at nothing to free him and others at the facility to free them from the saddest aquarium on Earth. If you would like to sign the petitions to save Pizza and the other animals, you can do so here, here, and here. You can also donate to HSI, who is doing everything they can to free these animals, here.
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