World's 'Saddest Polar Bear' Moved, for Now

Pizza to be temporarily moved from Chinese mall—but advocates want him out of there permanently
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2016 7:02 AM CST

Pizza the polar bear will soon "feel the sun on his fur, sniff fresh air, and see the sky above him." That per a statement from Humane Society International, announcing the transfer of the "world's saddest polar bear" from its controversial quarters in a Chinese mall, the BBC reports. Per the New York Times, Pizza is being temporarily relocated from the Grandview Polar Sea World in Guangzhou while the facility says on social media it's being "optimized and upgraded," though some think Pizza's condition deteriorated so much the owners were forced to remove him. Video released last month by HSI showed Pizza "showing classic stereotypical behavior, including head swaying and repetitive pacing," per an HSI animal expert, Time reports. "The conditions in which he is being kept are completely unsuitable … and if something is not done then he will likely slip further ... into mental decline."

Pizza is said to be one of more than 500 animals housed at the aquarium, which has come under fire by animal rights groups calling for its closure, saying conditions are shoddy and the animals neglected. Advocates say shopping malls in China often use wild animals to lure customers in who might normally go online to shop. Where Pizza will be shacked up for now is unclear: A notice on the aquarium's social media says he'll "return to where he was born and to his daddy and mommy" (the HSI says that's an ocean park in northern China), but the Times says calls to various facilities haven't provided a definitive answer. Meanwhile, a policy specialist at HSI says the group wants Pizza's sabbatical from the aquarium to be permanent. "No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal, and to send him back now would be cruel and heartless," he notes. (More uplifting news stories.)

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