The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Argentina zoo rejects moving its last polar bear to Canada despite animal activists' concerns

  • Print
In this video frame grab made available by Associated Press Television News, Mendoza Zoo Director Gustavo Pronotto looks in on Arturo, in the polar bear's concrete enclosure at the zoo in Mendoza, Argentina. Despite a petition by hundreds of thousands of people asking for Arturo's relocation to a zoo in Winnipeg that has accepted the transfer of the 28-year-old bear, Pronotto said Tuesday, July 22, 2014, that Arturo, will remain in Argentina. The country's last remaining polar bear in captivity only suffers the typical ailments of old age said the director and asks Arturo supporters to �stop bothering the bear,� adding it would be risky to move him due to his advanced age. (AP Photo/APTN, Pablo Astie)

Enlarge Image

In this video frame grab made available by Associated Press Television News, Mendoza Zoo Director Gustavo Pronotto looks in on Arturo, in the polar bear's concrete enclosure at the zoo in Mendoza, Argentina. Despite a petition by hundreds of thousands of people asking for Arturo's relocation to a zoo in Winnipeg that has accepted the transfer of the 28-year-old bear, Pronotto said Tuesday, July 22, 2014, that Arturo, will remain in Argentina. The country's last remaining polar bear in captivity only suffers the typical ailments of old age said the director and asks Arturo supporters to �stop bothering the bear,� adding it would be risky to move him due to his advanced age. (AP Photo/APTN, Pablo Astie)

MENDOZA, Argentina - Argentina's last captive polar bear will remain in the country despite a petition by more than a half million people asking that it be moved to Canada.

The director of the Mendoza Zoo in western Argentina told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 28-year-old bear is too old to safely be relocated.

Animal rights advocates say the bear, named Arturo, paces nervously in his concrete enclosure and they suggest the animal suffers from depression. They have campaigned to move the bear to a zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which has welcomed the idea.

Even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has rallied to the cause.

"If you love animals the way I do, please sign the petition to help the Argentinian polar bear, Arturo," Gingrich recently wrote on his Facebook page, where he posted a video clip in support of the move. "His current living situation is very sad, and he deserves to be saved."

The petition on Change.org asking Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to allow Arturo to be relocated had been signed by more than 500,000 supporters as of Tuesday.

But zoo director Gustavo Pronotto said Arturo suffers only the typical ailments of old age, which would make relocation too risky because he would have to be sedated to travel. A panel of Argentine veterinarians concluded in February that Arturo should stay in Mendoza.

"Arturo is close to his caretakers" Pronotto said. "We just want everyone to stop bothering the bear."

Greenpeace and other environmentalist groups argue it's riskier to keep the bear in Mendoza, where temperatures can reach up to 86 Fahrenheit (30 Celsius) in the summer. The last polar bear at the Buenos Aires zoo died in December 2012 amid a heat wave.

?Arturo's partner, a polar bear named Pelusa (Fuzz), died of cancer in 2012.

Wild polar bears live an average of 15 years to 18 years, and those in captivity often live into the 30s, according to the non-profit Polar Bears International, based in Montana.

Mariana Caram of OIKOS-Red Ambiental said her Mendoza-based environmental group is working on a report to challenge the veterinarian panel's decision to keep Arturo in Argentina.

"I saw the bear last Thursday. He came out and he swam just a bit. He's walking very slowly," she said. "They've expanded his pool but they still have yet to give him the room he needs to walk."

___

Associated Press writer Pablo Astie reported this story in Mendoza and Almudena Calatrava reported from Buenos Aires.

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

J.P. Vigier’s Whiteboard: Coach Maurice’s first full season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local/Standup- Morning Fog. Horse prances in field by McPhillips Road, north of Winnipeg. 060605.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Scottish independence referendum will have an effect in Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google