Polar bear trapped in tiny mall enclosure in 'mental decline'

Pizza the polar bear (Reuters)
Pizza the polar bear (Reuters)

A polar bear that's been kept captive in an enclosure inside a Chinese shopping mall since birth is showing signs of "frustration and mental decline", according to animal rights groups.

Pizza the polar bear has been confined to the small area at Grandview Mall for the three years since she was born, and has been labelled "the tragic bear that suffers for selfies" by Animals Asia.

Another 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.

However Grandview Mall Aquarium has rejected the suggestion that Pizza isn't enjoying her life, releasing footage of the bear swimming and being fed by staff.

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

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".