After the story of Arturo, the saddest polar bear in the world, went viral last week, hundreds of thousands rallied to save him. Unfortunately, the Argentine zoo that’s keeping him said he will not be moved.
“Arturo is close to his caretakers,” said Mendoza zoo director Gustavo Pronotto who argues Arturo is too old to be moved. “We just want everyone to stop bothering the bear.”
What Pronotto calls “bothering” was over 700,000 people signing a petition to have Arturo moved to a sanctuary in Canada, where the colder wintery weather would be more fitting for his species.
In Argentina, Arturo is forced to stay in his small enclosure with no protection from the sun at temperatures that can reach 86 degrees in the summer. Coupled with the fact that his long term companion Peluza died two years ago, the heat has taken a toll on Arturo who has been acting depressed and distressed.
Images of the bear slowly pacing around his enclosure made the rounds in the Internet with the plea for Argentine president Cristina Fernandez to ask the zoo to move Arturo to Canada. Among them was former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“If you love animals the way I do, please sign the petition to help the Argentinian polar bear, Arturo,” Gingrich posted on his Facebook page along with a video in support of the cause. “His current living situation is very sad, and he deserves to be saved.”
According to the zoo, Arturo would have to be sedated to make the trip up north and he wouldn’t survive it due to his old age. Local activists from the group OIKOS-Red Ambiental are currently working on a report to challenge the zoo’s decision.
“I saw the bear last Thursday. He came out and he swam just a bit. He’s walking very slowly,” said Mariana Caram who works with the organization. “They’ve expanded his pool but they still have yet to give him the room he needs to walk.”
Looks like it’s going to take a lot more “bothering” to get Arturo the basic rights he deserves. You can sign the petition or tweet with the hashtags #SaveArturo, #Arturo2Canada, and #FreeArturo to help the cause.