Rights groups urge release of ‘world’s saddest polar bear’

Beijing, Nov 14 (IANS) Animal rights groups have called for ‘the world’s saddest polar bear’, Pizza, to be returned to his natural habitat permanently after managers of the Chinese mall — where he has been kept in a cage — announced that he would be temporarily sent to an ocean park where he was born.

The Grandview Shopping Mall in Guangzhou city said that while the building is under renovation, Pizza will be sent to the park in Tianjin.

“It’s a good decision, the right decision for Pizza, but it’s not the end. Temporary is not good enough,” Mdm Qin, director of Capital Animal Welfare Association, said in a statement.

Pizza, a three-year-old male, became the focus of attention around the world in July when a video was released of him caged in a small area inside a shopping mall, without natural light or fresh air, and showing signs of poor mental health.

“We implore the mall to make this a permanent move for Pizza… no amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal, and to send him back now would be cruel and heartless,” Peter Li, a specialist at Humane Society International, said.