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Argentina zoo freezes polar bear's move to Canada

MENDOZA, Argentina (AP) - 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.

Argentina Zoo Refuses To Move Polar Bear

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."

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adumar4 July 23 2014 at 1:09 AM

Give him the cooling he needs and when he dies, NEVER EVER allow this country to get another polar bear!!

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3 replies
zhubin_zarindast July 23 2014 at 12:44 AM

All this talk about moving him and the counter talk from Argentina about his age is rather silly. All they have to do is make his habitat colder. They have indoor ski resorts in Dubai, so why can't they cool down his enclosure in Argentina?

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1 reply
toothii zhubin_zarindast July 23 2014 at 1:14 PM

$$$$$$$$$

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simons776 July 23 2014 at 2:09 AM

How much more idiotic the Argentine zoo director can be?? It's obvious this poor bear is not receiving the care he deserves in captivity so why not do the honorable thing & let someone else take this poor innocent bear & provide him with a proper envirornment the he deserves!! Obviously you idiots in the zoo in Argentina can not even do that!! You have no decency, if you did you fix this guy's enclosure & do whatever necessary for him to enjoy his life!!! If you can not or will not then let him go even if it kills him!!! He'll be better off dead than living a miserable life in your stupid stinking zoo!! BE MAN ENOUGH MR ZOO DIRECTOR AND LET HIM GO!!!

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2 replies
honeyrose3332 simons776 July 23 2014 at 8:39 AM

Let him go even if it kills him? Sounds pretty cruel to me. The animal has already lived 10 years longer than he might have in the wild at 28 years old. He is close to his caregivers. How would you like it if you were very old and suddenly moved away from those you knew and loved to a strange place filled with strangers?

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2 replies
goodgrief61945 honeyrose3332 July 23 2014 at 10:29 AM

He's lived a long miserable life. I agree with simons, even if it kills him. If it's not healthy enough to be tranquilized, it's almost dead anyway.

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Tom Lee honeyrose3332 July 23 2014 at 2:37 PM

I strongly disagree. He's already been tortured much too long. And you say he's already almost dead anyway. How closed minded of you and cruel. He deserves a chance & doesn''t deserve to be confined in a climate where he is not supposed to be in to begin with WHAT IF YOU YOURSELF WERE IN DIRE NEED OF ASSISTANCE AND THE PERSON'S IN CHARGE OF YOUR FATE TOOK YOUR POSITION AND REASONED THAT IT DOEN'T MATTER, YOUR ALMOST DEAD ANYWAY?

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cmr256 simons776 July 23 2014 at 1:26 PM

Yes, I agree - this is animal torture and he
the "director of the zoo" should be put in jail.
A cell with bars and no air conditioning in the summer and no heat in the winter. Now, that would be justice served!

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aset July 23 2014 at 1:15 AM

Why don't they make his enclosure cooler and give him a new mate? It might be just what he needs!!

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3 replies
RavenLadyONE July 23 2014 at 2:23 AM

I think ALL exotics should remain in a natural habitat/I HATE zoos.

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4 replies
Lynn Nicole Gatien July 23 2014 at 1:30 AM

Get this Polar Bear back home to where it belongs. Zoos are what's stupid. This animal is depressed to the point its LITERALLY dying from heat, domestication and the absence of home. GET HIM OUT OF THERE NOW!

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2 replies
honeyrose3332 Lynn Nicole Gatien July 23 2014 at 8:57 AM

The bear would die if he were to be set loose in the wild as he is far too old to successfully hunt and kill to eat. He would starve or be killed by other polar bears. Is that what you would like to see happen to him? Zoos are there for a reason. Many species are dying due to human population growth. A lot of these zoo animals live far longer than they would have in the wild, and are safe from man's greed to kill them for money.

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RENEE Lynn Nicole Gatien July 23 2014 at 11:48 AM

This reply is to honeyrose3332: No one is suggesting that he be put in the wild. Canada has offered to keep him in one of the zoos there. I agree it's too late to move him, but as with any other country, there are people of money who could probably part with some of it to get him a better environment. I sincerely hope the Argentinians never put another animal through this.

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zhubin_zarindast July 23 2014 at 12:37 AM

If only humans cared as much about each other's miseries. But Argentina has a point, the problem is that they are NOT keeping his environment cold enough. They should spend more money and perhaps give his enclosure a ceiling and turn it into a big cooler.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
1 reply
jubequinn zhubin_zarindast July 23 2014 at 1:30 AM

This zoo is a very horrible place for animals. I know. They don't have the ready cash to put to make this bear MUCH more comfortable. Not going to happen.

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Russ July 23 2014 at 2:00 AM

Lets all try to find a way & fight for Big Artie!!!!

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3 replies
Linda July 23 2014 at 2:51 AM

he is to old to be moved from a place he has know all his life. he know his handler and his place. I am sure he miss the other bear but to suddenly put him a whole new place would only make it worse

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2 replies
honeyrose3332 Linda July 23 2014 at 8:27 AM

I agree with you. These other posters are being unrealistic in their demands. The bear is too old to move and he is close to his caretakers. To move him now would be cruel.

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2 replies
danarobin24 honeyrose3332 July 23 2014 at 9:27 AM

He's lonely & depressed which happens in age especially after losing your life long mate, he needs a new bear friend that would surely cheer him up & turn up the air to make it cooler for him in his surroundings

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RENEE honeyrose3332 July 23 2014 at 11:51 AM

Just figured out how to post this under your reply: No one is suggesting that he be put in the wild. Canada has offered to keep him in one of the zoos there. I agree it's too late to move him, but as with any other country, there are people of money who could probably part with some of it to get him a better environment. I sincerely hope the Argentinians never put another animal through this. And to danarobin24: Why would you subject another bear to this environment? Turning up the air isn't sufficient; this bear alone doesn't have enough room for proper exercise, two are going to be even more crampled.

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Tom Lee Linda July 23 2014 at 2:09 PM

You are a complete idiot. How much worse could it possibly get.zoo's in canada will take him, it's the only chance he has.

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jubequinn July 23 2014 at 1:29 AM

These people or employees at this zoo are highly unqualified to do anything with any kind of wildlife. No degrees or any intelligence at all. I wish since they say the bear would not make that distance is silly. I think they should put the bear to sleep instead of keeping it in these kind of quarters. this is so sad. I loathe those idiots.

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1 reply
IBruzEZ jubequinn July 23 2014 at 9:52 AM

He has lived there many, many years so now all of a sudden he should be killed. The caretakers must have been doing something right; this bear is already 10 years older than life expectency. Sedation of a very old animal can be very harmful so... fix up the area and leave him alone.

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