After shocking footage emerged last year of Pizza, the polar bear, living in captivity inside a shopping mall in China, an animal rights group garnered over half a million signatures to secure his release.
Animals Asia, a government-registered charity, based in Hong Kong, devotes its resources to ensuring all animals, both wild and domesticated, are protected throughout the Asian continent.
After releasing the harrowing footage, more than half a million people around the world were compelled to sign a petition to remove Pizza from the cruel enclosure.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, England, has made a public offer to take Pizza and rehome him in their specially designed Polar Bear facility – a far cry from his current surroundings.
Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:
“The good news now for Grandview is that they now have the chance to put their mistake right. Thanks to this incredible offer from Yorkshire Wildlife Park there can be a happy ending and the negative publicity they have suffered can yet be turned into a positive news story. From talking to them I know they know that mistakes have been made in terms of their animal facilities and ongoing care.
“As an organisation that works with animal carers to provide the best possible environment for animals, we have to say that we would be delighted to see Pizza end up at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. There he would not only enjoy incredible facilities, he would also be part of a community of bears.”
The facilities available at the wildlife park stretch for over 10 acres, and feature two huge lakes, one of which is over eight metres deep, allowing the bears to swim, dive and enjoy their lives as they would in the wild.
The offer to rehome Pizza is being made without an offer of monetary compensation. This is because representatives from the wildlife park, as well as Animals Asia, are cautious of the money being used to purchase a new animal to take his place.
However, representatives from the Grandview have told AFP that no formal contract has been arranged.
“We are a legally compliant aquarium, run according to Chinese standards and protecting animal rights. In the future we will strengthen the protection of animal rights and welfare,” he told AFP.
Animals Asia have confirmed that they will stop at nothing to secure the release of this animal and will be meeting with the Grandview representatives soon.
The cost of transferring the bear to the UK will be raised charitably to secure his release should Grandview accept the offer.
In the meantime, you can offer your support by signing the petition here.