Out of Place: Why Chinese Malls are Packed with the World's Saddest Exotic Animals
Aside from the world's saddest polar bear, Pizza, who is kept in a Chinese mall for selfies, the Asian country has also been home to other Arctic animals that's been kept in captivity for entertainment and tourism.
According to a report from Quartz, The Grandview shopping mall where Pizza is kept is also home to other Arctic animals such as six beluga whales, four walruses, six Arctic wolves, eight Arctic foxes and a lot more. Considering that China experiences over 86 degrees F and 80 percent humidity during summertime, these exotic animals that are endemic in cold places are finding themselves out of place.
Photos and videos from Animals Asia, an animal welfare group, showed the poor living condition of Pizza and other animals. Pizza could be seen limping while tourists and visitors knock on its glass cage to take a snap of the animal.
"Taking animals from their natural environments can never be defended, but when they’re rehomed in conditions like we’re seeing at the Grandview Aquarium, it’s the worst possible situation," said Animals Asia's Welfare Director Dave Neale.
But why are animal exhibitions popping up in Chinese malls?
Bloomberg View points the culprit to rapid urbanization. Considering the massive 44 percent boost in newly constructed malls in China, urban planners in the country has put a focus on these establishments as a central part of their design, Smithsonian reports.
However, not all of these newly built malls have made economic success, and most of them have been left empty. In an attempt to attract more foot traffic and revenue, Chinese shopping mall owners have devised out-of-the-box ways to lure shoppers; thus, the birth of exotic animal exhibitions in Chinese shopping malls.
This attempt to raise profit using exotic animals have received flak from the public and animal conservation groups. China currently has no specific animal welfare laws to protect these creatures, and as Smithsonian notes, the most effective way to help these animals in captivity is by mallgoers to personally withdraw their support to these animal exhibitions.