#FreeArturo Is a Petition to Move A Depressed Polar Bear From An Argentine Zoo, And It's Already Got Over 400,000 Signatures
This is Arturo. He's a polar bear, in case you couldn't tell. He's actually an extremely depressed, extremely hot, polar bear, who's been living in Argentina. Actually, he's Argentina's very last polar bear, but he may not stay in the warm country for long — a #FreeArturo petition has been launched to move Arturo to Canada, and it's already gained over 400,000 signatures. You'll probably wanna sign it too, by the end of this.
Dubbed the "world's saddest animal," the 29-year-old bear has been visibly suffering for the last couple of years at his home in Mendoza Zoo, Argentina. In fact, ever since his best friend, Pelusa, died in 2012, Arturo has just — well, he's not been himself. He collapses into a heap on the ground and refuses to move. He rocks from side to side, looking visibly pained. He bares his teeth. He looks depressed, and uncomfortable, and pretty much no one can stand it any longer: 411,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling on Argentinian President Mrs. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to exercise her power and move the poor sad bear to Canada.
Says the petition:
We plead for solidarity and sensitivity from President, Mrs. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, as well as that from Diplomats ... We plead that intervene [sic] on this issue and ask the officials in Mendoza who have the polar bear Arturo prisoner to accept Arturo's transfer to the reserve so he can live in suitable conditions. In December 2012, a polar bear died in Buenos Aires due to heat, causing unease in Argentina and in the international community.
The campaign has also gathered momentum on Twitter, with the hashtag #FreeArturo erupting over the weekend. Even the former Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich has weighed in on the subject, Tweeting his support and urging others to join the cause via a video posted onto his Facebook page. “If you love animals the way I do, you're going to want to sign the petition to save the Argentinean polar bear, Arturo,” Gingrich says in the video. “This is very sad, and he should be saved.”
According to The Telegraph, Arturo's living conditions really are pretty grim. He's stuck in a small concrete enclosure (some other sources have referred to it as a cage), with temperatures going up to 104F. To cool down, all he's got is a 20-inch-deep pool of water and a picture of snow.
Sadly, unless the Argentinian government does intervene, it doesn't look like much will be done about Arturo — back in February, the Mendoza Zoo refused to transfer the polar bear to a zoo in Canada, saying that he was too old and wouldn't survive the trip, according to CBC news. It also didn't help that they, er, didn't have the up-do-date medical records for the bear and so technically couldn't transfer him anyway.