Sunday 18 March 2018

Arturo - the 'world’s saddest polar bear' - dies in zoo after 20 years in captivity

Arturo the polar bear has passed away
Arturo the polar bear has passed away
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

The world’s 'saddest polar bear' has died after 20 years in captivity despite over one million people signing a petition to have him removed from the zoo.

The polar bear called Arturo spent his life at a Mendoza Zoo in Argentina where temperatures can soar to 40 degrees.

The animal, who was 30-years-old, was the centre of media attention in 2014 after a petition was launched to move him to cooler conditions in Canada, and he became known as the “world’s saddest polar bear”.

Zoo officials refused to relocate the polar bear, citing his old age as a reason why he should not be moved.

In 2002, Arturo’s partner Pelusa died and he suffered from depression since.

Arturo died on Sunday with zoo officials reporting he died from old age.

The Born Free Foundation released a statement after Arturo’s death highlighting the “substandard conditions” the polar bear endured for more than 20 years.

The wildlife charity said that the wild animal lived in an environment that was “completely unsuitable and unnatural”.

Born Free said: “While there are considerable threats facing wild polar bear habitat, the Born Free Foundation believes that keeping and breeding more bears in zoos has no genuine role to play in polar bear conservation.

“Experience of polar bears in zoos the world over has shown us time and again that polar bears simply do not fare well in captivity, particularly in zoos in hot climates.

“Sadly, polar bears remain commonly kept in zoos in countries such as Mexico and Singapore, and until quite recently, Chile and South Africa.”

Tributes to Arturo flooded social media with PETA offering their condolences.

“R.I.P. Arturo. You didn't deserve this,” they said.

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