Animals rights group calls for zoo boycott as animals suffer in silence for 'selfies'

Kamilia Palu

An aquarium in a Chinese mall dubbed the ‘saddest zoo in the world’ has come under increasing pressure to close down for the apparent ‘neglect’ of their arctic animals.

Housing two polar bear hybrids, six young beluga whales, five walrus calves and two arctic wolves among other animals, Grandview Mall Ocean World has been the target of a petition to see its doors closed for good.

The zoo houses two polar bears in small enclosures with concrete walls and floors. Photo: Animals Asia

Animals Asia, a Hong Kong based charity, has received more than 70,200 signatures on a petition to have the ‘prison’ shut down little more than two months after its official opening.

A video taken by the animal rights group shows a polar bear lying on his side in a small enclosure, surrounded by concrete walls and floor and enveloped in an unnatural blue light.

Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said they were calling on the public to boycott the attraction.

An arctic wolf lies in the corner of its concrete cell inside Grandview Aquarium. Photo: Animals Asia

“This bear has no peace and nothing natural to take comfort in. What’s more, information on how best to try to meet the complex physical and behavioural needs of captive polar bears is freely available and yet this animal has been wilfully incarcerated in this way.

“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?”

Concerns have also been raised over the living conditions of the animals, with visitors stating that the beluga whales were kept in ‘filthy’ water, the whale shark’s tank was too small and a grouper died from neglect while in the aquarium’s care.

Visitors to the zoo have complained that the tanks housing the marine animals are 'filthy' and far too small. Photo: Animals Asia

According to the Guangzhou Daily, the Guangzhou Ocean and Fishery Bureau opened an investigation into the facility in January and found that several animals were hurt or injured during the transportation process into the zoo.

The bureau subsequently demanded that the aquarium improve their relocation systems.

The aquarium is located inside a mall in the Chinese city of Guangzhou and occupies the second and third floors.

The polar bear stands on its hind legs to look over the door of its enclosure. Photo: Animals Asia

Aquarium manager Li Chengtang told local media outlets that the polar animals have sufficient space to live and play and that professionals were constantly monitoring the animals’ mental health and wellbeing.

He insisted that no animals have died under the facility’s care.

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