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Meet the World's Saddest Polar Bear Kept in a Chinese Shopping Mall for Selfies

Jul 23, 2016 06:03 AM EDT
Polar Bear
Rapid urbanization, profit and empty malls are paving the way to set-up animal exhibits in Chinese shopping malls, leaving these exotic animals endemic in cold places are finding themselves out of place.
(Photo : echoyan/Pixabay)

Photos of a polar bear kept in a shopping mall have been making waves online. Tagged as the "World's Saddest Zoo," the Grandview Aquarium in Guangzhou, China houses polar bears and other species in dimly-lit enclosures for selfies.

Photos and videos from animal welfare group Animals Asia showed the poor state and horrifying living conditions of the animals. The group said the living spaces for the animals are very limited.

In one video, the polar bear could be seen limping. Mashable notes that the bear reportedly looks miserable as visitors knock on the glass of its cage to get its attention and take pictures with the animal.

The Grandview Aquarium, which opened January this year, has received a lot of heat regarding animal abuse and neglect.

"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.

He said the clear motivation for the construction of establishments such as Grandview is pure business and profit.

"As long as businesses are allowed to use animals in this manner, wealth will always be put ahead of welfare," Neale added.

Animal Asia reported that the Grandview Aquarium's management has sought help from the Hong Kong-based animal welfare organization to learn more about proper care of the animals. Neale has invited the zoo's management for a talk even though he said that it is "difficult" for him to work with people who have chosen to treat animals poorly.

There is a small chance that the Grandview Aquarium will close its doors anytime soon, but Neale said they will keep on pushing until they see "significant changes."

"If our experience has taught us anything--first you open doors, then you open cages," he said.

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