Grandview Aquarium, in Guangzhou, China has announced that its captive bear Pizza – a 3-year-old male often called "the world's saddest polar bear" due to his difficult living conditions – will be temporarily returned to his birthplace in an ocean park, BBC News reports.
The move comes after intense pressure and petition efforts from animal rights groups brought Pizza's plight to a worldwide audience. Pizza lives in a too-small enclosure, with large windows into his world filled with visitors' faces to make him uneasy, they argue. Recently, new video showing the animal in its enclosure sparked fresh calls for Pizza's release.
Pizza's mall home will be renovated, and his living space will roughly double, according to the New York Times.
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While animal rights groups have cheered Pizza's move, they are pushing for a permanent home far from the mall.
"No amount of renovation could ever make a shopping mall a suitable place for this animal, and to send him back now would be cruel and heartless," said Humane Society International China policy expert Peter Li in a statement. "We commend the mall for being gracious enough to listen to Chinese and global voices of concern and hope they will do the right thing for this poor bear who has already been through enough."
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