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Arturo the polar bear’s horrifying living conditions have received massive attention. His story went viral on the internet with people sharing on Twitter under #Arturo or, #OsoArturo in South America, prompting celebrities like CherOlivia Munn and even Newt Gingrich to rally his cause. Nearly three quarters of a million people have signed the change.org petition urging he be removed from the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina and many others have donated money to further that end.

Unfortunately, even with the preponderance of evidence and public outcry pointing toward the desperate need for Arturo’s release, Mendoza Zoo’s director, Gustavo Pronotto, is refusing to give him up. Citing a panel decision by internal veterinarians back in February, the zoo’s stance is that Arturo’s abnormal behaviors are merely the result of old age and that moving him would be far riskier than leaving him where he is due to his advanced age and health.

To say this seems suspicious is an understatement. With no medical records available for Arturo for the last three years, Mendoza is asking the public to take their word for it that Arturo isn’t healthy enough to be moved…despite the underlying concern that it is his inappropriate environment that is making him ill. Zoos rely on admission for more than 50% of their revenue, so naturally, they are usually loathe to give up an animal, especially an exotic animal like a polar bear in a sub-tropical country. It’s not about the animal’s well being. It’s about their bottom line.

Moreover, Bill McDonald, CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society, disagrees with the zoo that Arturo’s behaviors are age related. Arturo has barely enough space to walk in his enclosure and with temperatures that can reach 104°F, his rocking, head tilting, pacing and teeth baring all point to an unraveling mental state (or zoochosis), not age.  “This bear is doing what’s called stereotyping or stereotypy movements.” McDonald said. “It’s basically going insane.”

Activists, animal lovers and environmental groups such as OIKOS– Red Ambiental located in Mendoza are continuing to fight for Arturo. Greenpeace Argentina is urging people who want to see Arturo moved to sign their petition,  putting pressure on the Governor of Mendoza, Francisco Paco Pérez, to have a polar bear specialist, independent of the zoo, evaluate Arturo.

Continuing to spread the word about Arturo will keep the pressure on as well, giving a voice to this bear who still so desperately needs it!

Image source: ABC Local

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0 comments on “Despite Public Outcry, Arturo the Polar Bear Remains in His Prison”

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3 Years Ago

This is pathetic !!! Surely, there is a wealthy animal lover, who has the money and influence to pay for the transfer to Canada.

P. Bumberger
3 Years Ago

I think keeping animals caged just for public viewing is cruel and like being in the Dark Ages. Animals should be as
free as possible. If the animal can spend most of his life in a large enough environment and still be able to be visited
by the public, that\'s one thing, but to be constantly in a small cage is just inhumane! Anyone who thinks it is all right to
keep an animal in a small cage should have to spend time in one himself. The thought of that caged bear makes me
so feel so sad. How can this even be allowed? How can this be stopped? United States can\'t control what other countries
do, but can\'t something be done? Can\'t United States and some other humane countries do something about this?
This makes me so angry! There should be some kind of worldwide law to prevent such things.

Claudia Nicora
26 Jul 2014

Several organizations in Canada have asked to keep him, PETA said it would pay for his safe transportation to Canada, but the zoo´s director refuses to give him up.

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