In a Chinese shopping center, animals that have no place being penned indoors are being used for the entertainment of shoppers.
Around 500 species, including five walrus calves, six belugas, a few arctic foxes and a wolf, are trapped in a small enclosure at the Grandview shopping center in Guangzhou. The animals serve as an attraction for people who come by to tap on the glass or take pictures with them.
A sad video of a polar bear that happens to be one of these wildlife animals at the shopping mall has attracted the criticism of many animal welfare activists. The bear can be seen helplessly lying on the floor, with his eyes half closed and mouth slightly open, almost like he’s on the verge of death.
A Hong Kong-based charity, Animals Asia, captured the video of the bear and is now asking people to boycott the shopping center. They want the wildlife creatures to be sent back to their natural habitat.
“Polar bears often exhibit stereotypic behavior as captivity restricts their natural instincts such as the need to forage. 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?” Dave Neale, director of Animals Asia, said.
An online petition for the cause launched and gained nearly 47,000 signatures from people around the world.
Polar bears are one of the hardest animals to care for in captivity, since their natural habitat varies wildly from what a zoo — much less a shopping center — can provide. In order to live comfortably, they require large spaces to run, hunt and climb, and they thrive best when they are left free.
People signing the petition are hopeful that authorities will send these animals back to their natural habitat, and put an immediate end to this cruelty.
Animal rights in China is a widely debated topic, and the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival is proof of the country’s mistreatment toward animals.
Twitter users are extremely heartbroken for the bear:
Please sign the petition in my below tweet. I don't normally sign petitions but that poor polar bear stuck in the shopping mall in China ??— Ciara (@CiaraFaux) July 10, 2016
This makes me sick. Shame on you, China. https://t.co/zpDRhEpgz0— Gemma Constable (@GemConstableKM) July 10, 2016
China, a country with scarce human rights treat animals like shit. What a surprise! This is disgusting. https://t.co/th3PrWCX1W— Ryan (@Ryan__W) July 10, 2016