AboutZoos, Since 2008


Argentina polar bear’s heat stress not end­ing yet – trans­port to Canada impossible

pub­lished 07 Feb­ru­ary 2014 | mod­i­fied 25 Decem­ber 2014

Arturo the polar bear of Men­doza Zoo in Argentina is in dis­tress. In 2012 his mate died and he seems to be depressed ever since. In addi­tion, the cli­mate of Argentina’s sum­mer is absolutely not suit­able for a polar bear and Arturo is exhausted from the heat. The polar bear is show­ing abnor­mal stereo­type behav­iour due to its unnat­ural and unsuited cap­tive sit­u­a­tion at Men­doza Zoo.

Polar bear ArturoWinnipeg’s Assini­boine Park Zoo has offered to adopt Arturo, and even pay for trans­port costs, to alle­vi­ate the suf­fer­ing of the 29-​year old bear. An arti­cle on the web­site phys​.org of 6 Feb­ru­ary sug­gested the only bar­rier for the animal’s change of venue would be if a med­ical checkup by vet­eri­nar­i­ans would show that he is not fit to endure the long trip to Win­nipeg, Canada. But as a mat­ter of fact it now turns out that Cana­dian vet­eri­nary reg­u­la­tion will pro­hibit Arturo to travel to colder climate.

There are very strict reg­u­la­tions that must be met to bring an ani­mal into Canada ….
Don Peterkin, Chief Oper­a­tions Offi­cer, Assini­boine Park Conservancy »

The Assini­boine Park Con­ser­vancy (APC) has been in ongo­ing dis­cus­sions with the Men­doza Zoo in Argentina regard­ing Arturo, to help deter­mine if a trans­fer to another facil­ity would be in the animal’s best inter­est. After a great deal of col­lab­o­ra­tion, it does not appear that a Cana­dian import per­mit can be issued for Arturo.

As part of dis­cus­sions between the two organ­i­sa­tions, APC rep­re­sen­ta­tives for­warded CFIA’s (Cana­dian Food Inspec­tion Agency) import per­mit require­ments to offi­cials at the Men­doza Zoo. These require­ments include a crit­i­cal need for spe­cific med­ical records dat­ing back a min­i­mum of three years and Men­doza rep­re­sen­ta­tives have con­firmed that they are unable to ful­fill this require­ment, thereby negat­ing any pos­si­bil­ity of a per­mit being issued.

There are very strict reg­u­la­tions that must be met to bring an ani­mal into Canada,” said Don Peterkin, Chief Oper­a­tions Offi­cer with the Assini­boine Park Con­ser­vancy. “These reg­u­la­tions are in place to ensure the health and wel­fare of ani­mals and animal-​related indus­tries so with­out the proper health records in place it’s sim­ply not pos­si­ble to obtain the per­mits required.”

APC rep­re­sen­ta­tives have agreed to par­tic­i­pate in a meet­ing via Skype on Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 7th, to assist in the assess­ment of Arturo’s health. In addi­tion, APC has offered to send a mem­ber of its vet­eri­nar­ian team to Men­doza in the near future to help eval­u­ate his exist­ing envi­ron­ment and, if pos­si­ble, pro­vide rec­om­men­da­tions for improvements.

In addi­tion the Win­nipeg humane soci­ety is call­ing on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to pres­sure the Argen­tin­ian gov­ern­ment to have the polar bear moved out of the Men­doza Zoo. Bill McDon­ald, CEO of the Win­nipeg Humane Soci­ety, says Argentina’s hot weather is just not suit­able for a polar bear. On the YouTube video Arturo shows signs of abnor­mal stereo­type behav­iour, rock­ing from side to side repeatedly:

(Source: Assini­boine Park Con­ser­vancy news release, 05.02.2014; phys​.org/​b​i​o​l​o​g​y​/​p​l​a​n​t​s & ani­mals, 06.02.2014; YouTube – Beside­film, 07.02.2014)

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