Arturo, the world’s saddest bear and the only captive polar bear in Argentina, died from old age at the Mendoza Zoological Park. He was 30 years old.
Arturo spent his life in captivity and animal advocates claim that his living conditions made him stressed and depressed. Arturo lived in a concrete pit where the temperatures can reach 100 degrees in the summer and his bad living conditions caused thousands of people to sign the petition for his rescue.
“Arturo spent a lifetime in conditions that I think would be inherently stressful and unkind to him as an animal,” said Barry MacKay, senior program associate at Born Free USA.
Barry was part of the 2014 movement that fought to have Arturo relocated to a zoo in Canada, where he would have more appropriate living conditions.
“What we were trying to do with the petition was to give him some environment that he spent so many years evolving to live in. Every part of a polar bear’s body is designed for snow, for ice, for predatory habits and roaming huge distances. For 30 years Arturo was deprived of it,” said MacKay.
Arturo’s deprivation didn’t go unnoticed.
“The heat must be unbearable for him, making his lonely life that much worse. Seeing the pictures of his despair and suffering is so hard to bear. Could you please reevaluate his situation,” wrote one resident from Argentina.
Some people doubted that Arturo was healthy enough to make the trip to Canada and on the other hand, the Mendoza Zoo refused to give him up. Unfortunately, now it’s too late.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts to inform you that Dear Arturo gave up his fight to live, and passed away today. Arturo I wish you had known of the so many people worldwide who loved you, who fought for you, who tried so hard to bring your plight more awareness,” an advocacy page for Arturo announced on Facebook on Sunday.
“You are free now, Arturo,” the Facebook page wrote.
“I think it’s a tragic situation, and I hope that we can put an end to keeping these animals in environments that aren’t good for them,” MacKay said.
Arturo’s death was a big tragedy but we’re optimistic since things are changing for many animals in captivity. The Buenos Aires Zoo announced that they will release many animals to the wildlife reserves and will turn their institution into a park focusing on education.
Rest in peace, Arturo.