A UK animal welfare charity is speaking out against a recently opened Chinese hotel housing captive polar bears.
Wild Welfare has strongly condemned a hotel in China, that has been built around a polar bear enclosure, calling it out for multiple animal welfare failings.
At Harbin Polarland in northern China, it is reported that hotel guests can view polar bears 24 hours a day through windows facing onto the bears’ enclosure.
Wild Welfare’s acting UK director Simon Marsh, said: “This hotel is akin to a 21st century bear pit. There is absolutely nothing positive to say about a captive animal facility which only caters for public needs.
“These bears appear to have no fresh air, no space to roam, no privacy, no peace, no view and just artificial stimulation.”
A video seen by the charity shows what appears to be an indoor enclosure, housing at least two polar bears with multiple windows overlooking the enclosure for guest viewing.
Simon Marsh added, “Polar bears are the world’s largest land carnivore, they need space, natural stimulation and substrates and choice and control over their environment, including the ability to retire away from visitors.
“Zoos and other captive facilities should prioritise the individual needs of their animals, not the public, this is not good welfare for a bear or any other animal.”
Harbin Polarland, which opened 15 years ago, describes itself as ‘the world’s first polar performing arts amusement park’. The recently opened hotel is a new addition to the park complex.
Wild Welfare joins other animal welfare and conservation groups in condemning the hotel, but from within China there has also been public outcry, demonstrating the changing views and understanding of the Chinese on what constitutes good animal welfare.
China received public criticism in 2016, when news and images of Pizza, a captive polar bear housed in cramped conditions in a shopping centre aquarium, spread around the world.
Wild Welfare works in more than ten countries worldwide, on captive wild animal welfare projects in facilities such as zoos, aquariums and wildlife sanctuaries.
Notes to Editors
For more information or interview requests please contact Wild Welfare on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild Welfare is a global organisation committed to improving animal welfare for captive wild animals. By uniting the world’s leading zoos, zoo associations and animal welfare organisations, we build trusting partnerships that help provide long-term solutions to critical wild animal welfare issues.
Our vision is to end the suffering of captive wild animals around the world and ensure full and sustainable protection is given to all animals in human care. Find out more at wildwelfare.org. Registered charity in England and Wales No.1165941.
Image © Wild Welfare: A polar bear in an outdoor zoo enclosure with natural substrates