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‘World’s Saddest Polar Bear’ Suffers for Selfies at Chinese Shopping Center

File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)
File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)

(GUANGZHOU, China) — Heartbreaking video of what has been dubbed the “world’s saddest polar bear,” housed at a Chinese mega-mall, has sparked international outrage.

The bear lives at the Grandview Aquarium within the Grandview shopping center in Guangzhou, China.

Animals Asia, a Hong Kong-based animal rights group, has drawn attention to the upsetting living conditions at the mall’s zoo, calling it a “prison” for animals. The group’s petition to close the Grandview Aquarium has already gained more than 311,000 signatures.

Although the aquarium opened in January, photo and video of the bear and the mall’s conditions have recently started garnering international attention on social media.

“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,” Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said in a blog post. “This is a bear that suffers for what? For selfies? For shopping?”

Neale announced that Animals Asia representatives met with Grandview officials multiple times, hoping for change, but wrote that “the sad truth” is “we can’t immediately shut down Grandview. And they are unlikely to free this bear, or any of the other animals they house, at least not in the short-term.”

Nonetheless, Neale vowed the group would not give up in helping to improve conditions for these animals, writing, “We’ll keep helping, we’ll keep pushing for change.”

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