The operator of a controversial arctic exhibit at a Guangzhou mall has released a video in an attempt to assure critics that a polar bear being housed at the facility is leading a comfortable and happy life.
In the five-minute-long clip, the aquarium operator claims that it has a team of over 300 people to ensure the well-being of the animals, including a polar bear named Pizza, that live in captivity.
Rejecting criticism of poor housing conditions for Pizza, which some critics have dubbed as the “world’s saddest polar bear”, the operator said the animal is actually “living happily”, hk01.com reports.
The firm insisted that it has referenced the standards adopted in the US and Europe to create an environment with optimal sea water acidity, temperature, and lighting which polar bears enjoy.
It defended its move to include a polar bear in the facility, saying that it has sought to promote diversity of species by relocating an endangered species to a zoo-like environment.
In the video, the operator also says that it has followed the advice of experts and has been feeding Pizza with beef, cereal grains, honey and cod liver oil.
The video footage was released after the aquarium operator faced a storm of criticism from animal rights activists earlier this year over the living conditions of the polar bear.
Activists, with visual evidence to back up their claims, pointed out that Pizza appeared to be listless and extremely unhappy as it was confined to a very small space.
The animal seemed depressed and was acting abnormally, they said.
As the bear’s plight caught media attention, activists launched an online petition, gathering over a million signatures, calling for the animal to be moved to a zoo overseas.
Media reports have pointed out Pizza had space of just around 300-400 square feet to move around, an area highly insufficient for an animal of that size.
A similar facility in Yorkshire, UK, for instance, has around ten acres of area and lakes with water depths of over eight meters for the animal to move around.
Rejecting allegations that miserable conditions had made Pizza listless, the Guangzhou mall zoo operator pointed to statistics that show that a polar bear spends 66 percent of its lifetime idling, and that only 29 percent of the time is spent on walking around and swimming.
A zoo employee claimed in the video that they are doing all they can to give Pizza a good life and that consider the polar bear a member of the family.
Guangzhou mall zoo faces boycott calls due to polar bear plight (Jun. 15, 2016)
Guangzhou mall rejects offer to transfer polar bear to UK zoo (Sept. 21. 2016)
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