Support grows to close 'world's saddest zoo' in China

Support grows to close 'world's saddest zoo' in China

More than 150,000 people have signed an online petition to close what's been called a "prison for animals" at a Chinese shopping mall.

The Grandview Mall in Guangzhou is a multi-storey shopping centre which is also home to a number of animals, including polar bears, a wolf and whales, kept in enclosures where they're constantly bothered by shoppers wanting selfies.

Support grows to close 'world's saddest zoo' in China

(Animals Asia)

It's drawn the attention of animal rights group Animals Asia, which has set up a campaign to close the  Grandview Aquarium, the "world's saddest zoo".

The exhibits have been criticised for not even attempting to recreate a natural environment for the animals or giving them options for solitude from people. The exhibit opened in January.

As well as the two polar bears, there are also six young beluga whales, five walrus calves, a wolf and arctic foxes.

Support grows to close 'world's saddest zoo' in China

(Animals Asia)

"There is no excuse for any animal to be trapped this way, but it's widely believed that polar bears are one of the hardest of all animals to effectively provide for in captivity. Polar bears often exhibit 'stereotypic' behaviour as captivity restricts their natural instincts such as the need to forage,' Animals Asia animal welfare director Dave Neale says.

"Polar bears require huge amounts of space. Large enough for them to walk, run, climb and hunt. The list of what they need is very long - to a point whereby you can only really answer that what a polar bear really 'needs' is to be free to live life in the wild."

Support grows to close 'world's saddest zoo' in China

 

(Animals Asia)

Some Chinese citizens have been telling people not to go to the shopping centre through social media channels and Animals Asia has repeated that plea.

"We are calling on the Chinese public not to attend this attraction. We are calling for it to be closed down. This is a bear that suffers for what? For selfies? For shopping?"

In April, the aquarium told Animals Asia it will improve the facilities, including a redesign of the enclosures and better animal welfare standards.

But Animals Asia says there's no suggestion the aquarium will close or the animals will be rehomed.

Mr Neale met with Grandview board vice chairman and executive director Max Xie.

"Grandview are genuinely shocked by the international outrage at their aquarium and the awful facilities used to house animals.

"As is so often the case I believe that the cruelty is as much about a lack of knowledge as commercial pressures," Mr Neale says.

"Japanese experts" are said to be behind the redesigned enclosures.

Newshub.