Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Unprecedented action' in fight to save polar bear

  • Print
Arturo has been subjected to highs of close to 40 C in an Argentine zoo.

YOUTUBE Enlarge Image

Arturo has been subjected to highs of close to 40 C in an Argentine zoo.

An organization of lawyers defending animal rights has filed a petition in an Argentine court on behalf of Arturo the polar bear.

He's being "unlawfully deprived of his liberty" at Argentina's Mendoza Zoo, argues the Association of Professional Attorneys for the Rights of Animals.

The association said the "unprecedented action" was taken when Arturo's South American zoo announced last week the polar bear couldn't leave for a zoo in Winnipeg and would be left there to languish.

"They're not asking for freedom -- they're asking for good conditions and to transfer Arturo to Assiniboine Park," said Maria Fernanda Arentes, the Winnipegger who spread the word about Arturo's plight.

Last year, video of the arctic animal pacing back and forth in a substandard enclosure in a steamy South American zoo caused an uproar around the world. This past week, a group of lawyers came to his defence.

"What they are trying to do is changing the law by setting precedents," said Arentes.

"They're saying to the judge they think we don't have the right to keep this animal in this condition because animals have rights," said the Argentine expat. If their case is successful, "it will not be easy after this to openly exert abuse on animals like this."

Last year, the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre in Winnipeg offered to move Arturo here, causing a backlash from some in Mendoza who said "pirates" were coming to take their bear.

Last month, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy that runs the polar bear centre said it couldn't get a Canadian import permit for Arturo because the Mendoza Zoo officials didn't have the required medical records.

Last week, Winnipeg zoo representatives met with Arturo's keepers via Skype and offered to go to Argentina and advise them on how to better care for the bear. Mendoza Zoo officials were reportedly considering it.

Animal rights lawyers in Argentina are asking the court for Arturo's immediate transfer to the polar bear centre in Winnipeg or "some other place of similar characteristics in the world," a translation posted online said.

They've turned up the heat on Arturo's keepers but Arentes doesn't expect the wheels of justice will move quickly. It's summertime in Argentina right now and courts grind to a halt with so many people on vacation, she said.

Meanwhile, Arturo has to endure daytime highs of close to 40 C, she said.

"This summer is very hot."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 12, 2014 A6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Cheap summer weekends

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you like Gord Steeves’ idea to sell four city-owned golf courses to fund road renewal?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google