Chinese mall housing 'world's saddest polar bear' holds wild animal parade

  • 31/10/2016
The mall says the event is all in the name of animal education, but animal welfare groups disagree (Weibo/Nanyue Jinghuang)
The mall says the event is all in the name of animal education, but animal welfare groups disagree (Weibo/Nanyue Jinghuang)

The mall in China home to the "world's saddest polar bear" has also been holding parades for wild animals.

Photos posted to Chinese social network Weibo show raccoons, horses, squirrel monkeys, dogs with coloured fur and Alaskan malamutes all paraded through the Grandview Mall in Guangzhou.

Chinese mall housing 'world's saddest polar bear' holds wild animal parade
Chinese mall housing 'world's saddest polar bear' holds wild animal parade

The mall says the event is all in the name of animal education, but animal welfare groups disagree.

Some of the animals, which were encircled by hundreds of visitors during the parade and sometimes touched, are protected species. Raccoons are known to carry infectious diseases such as rabies.

Chinese mall housing 'world's saddest polar bear' holds wild animal parade
Chinese mall housing 'world's saddest polar bear' holds wild animal parade

But the Chinese government supports the mall's animal programme.

"Guangzhou Grandview Mall Aquarium has been following the principle of 'animals first', with the ground of educating the public and protecting the diversity of animal species," the mall said in a statement.

"The mall was built legally with an experienced operation team that has constantly been working on providing a comfortable living environment and animal enrichment activities for the animals."

The mall has come under fire recently from animal welfare groups, who label its polar bear, Pizza, "the tragic bear that suffers for selfies".

Pizza the polar bear has been confined to a small area in Granview Mall for the three years since she was born, and is showing signs of "frustration and mental decline".

Chinese mall housing 'world's saddest polar bear' holds wild animal parade

Last month, Yorkshire Wildlife Park announced it was willing to take Pizza into its specially-constructed reserve, which spans ten acres, features two lakes and is designed to replicate the habitat of Arctic tundra in summer.

However Grandview Mall declined the offer, saying there was "no need for foreign organisations to get involved".

It also says her tank, which is 150 square metres, is compliant with China's regulations for polar bear enclosures.

Animal welfare group, Humane Society International (HSI), said Pizza was exhibiting "worrying stereotypical behaviours such as head swaying and repetitive pacing", which pointed to a less than healthy state of mind.

HSI and three Chinese-based animal rights groups have now banded together to campaign to shut down the enclosure, and the surrounding aquarium.

But the mall is scheduled to open another zoo in 2017, which will house white tigers and white-handed gibbons, despite vocal opposition.

Newshub.