Mendoza, Argentina — Arturo, a polar bear living at a zoo in South America, has been called the “world’s saddest animal.”
The animal sits inside an enclosure at the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina, where temperatures reach up to 104 degrees.
Arturo is said to have been depressed since his long-term friend, Pelusa, died two years ago.
The animal reportedly exhibits abnormal behavior, including tilting his head and showing his teeth while pacing back and forth for several hours a day.
The animal has been at the zoo for two decades. Now, animal rights activists are fighting to get the bear moved to a zoo that can offer cooler conditions.
The zoo rejected an effort to move the animal to Winnipeg, Canada. The zoo did not believe the bear could survive the two-day trip.
“We must avoid a big mistake, like his death during the trip or upon arrival,” said Director Gustavo Pronotto. “One must evaluate the risks carefully. He is old, and this would require many hours of anesthesia.”
Zoo officials have said the animal is in “good condition,” saying the life expectancy of a polar bear is just over 20 years. However, polar bears in captivity can live up to 30 years. Arturo is 29 years old.
Greenpeace has gathered 160,000 signatures and online campaigns have been created to help fund a move. A Change.org campaign has racked up over 30,000 signatures.
Argentinian professor Fernanda Arentsen, who teaches at a university in Winnipeg, told the Winnipeg Free Press: “You can see he is going crazy. He moves the way polar bears do when they are suffering a lot of stress.”
The controversy surrounding Arturo resurfaced recently due to hot weather in Argentina and photos being shared on social media. A campaign created by a Reddit user has raised $2,490 for POLAR BEARS INTERNATIONAL.