Save Yupi: Polar Bear Suffering in Mexican Zoo

Yupi is a polar bear who was brought to the Morelia Zoo in Mexico as an orphan after her mother was killed in Alaska. She was 3-months-old at the time. She’s now 18 and has spent her entire life there in a barren enclosure unfit for a polar bear, but her future doesn’t have to be so bleak.

Unbeknownst to her, animal advocates and a number of animal welfare organizations from around the world are campaigning to have Yupi moved to a facility that’s better equipped to meet her needs.

Yupi currently spends her days in a tropical climate that is overwhelmingly inappropriate for a polar bear, which is exacerbated by the fact that she’s trapped in a concrete enclosure that does not provide any enrichment, adequate shade or enough room to allow for normal polar bear behaviors and activity (watch video).

She shows the abnormal, repetitive, behavior of a bored and frustrated captive animal. Her fur has taken on greenish color, which can happen to polar bears kept warm climates due to algae growth in hollow guard hairs.

“Probably the most alarming aspect of management is the fact that Yupi is confined in her holding area (a dank, barren, concrete bunker) for the majority of each day, in conditions far worse than her main enclosure. According to staff, Yupi is locked in her off-exhibit area 16-17 hours each day. Presumably, this scheduling coincides with the arrival and departure of zoo staff each day. The holding area is small, dark, damp and barren. It has little natural light and no soft areas for resting. While Yupi’s main exhibit area is grossly substandard, the holding area where Yupi spends most of her time is much worse. Under no circumstances should Yupi be confined in this space for the majority of each day,” according to the Save Yupi Coalition.

Despite the controversy over keeping polar bears in captivity, and the belief that they are one of the worst candidates for captivity, the zoo wants to keep Yupi because that believe she is a valuable asset that’s popular with the public.

Yupi could still have quite a few good years left and doesn’t have to spend them in this hot concrete prison. A polar bear rehabilitation center in Ontario is willing to take her if the zoo will do what’s in her best interest and give her up.


Please join the campaign to save Yupi and sign the petition telling the Director of the Morellia Zoo, the Municipal Mayor and Governor of Michoacan, Mexico that keeping Yupi in her current conditions is unacceptable.

Related Posts:

Giving Polar Bears a Chance to Survive

Chill Out! It’s International Polar Bear Day

Time to Stop Canada’s Polar Bear Hunt

Photo credit: Michael J. Linden

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Sandra Penna
Sandra Pennaabout a year ago

petition closed???

Patricia Welch
Patricia W.about a year ago

No longer able to sign :( Hope Yupi does alright - no polar bear belongs in tropical environments.

Angela Padovani
Angela Padovaniabout a year ago

I tried to sign the petition, but it shows it is closed. Please provide an update on Yupi and I hope she gets moved. Such a lonely existence. She probably has no clue what being a polar bear is even about. No life. Can you imagine if this was you (a human being) and you were caged, had never been around another human being, and this was all you knew, to be penned up all day and be gawked at?

Arlene C.
Arlene C.about a year ago

signé merci Alicia

Val M.
Val M.about a year ago


Janelle Kennedy
Janelle Kennedyabout a year ago

Polar bears should not be kept captive in climates that aren't suitable for them.

mari s.
mari s.about a year ago


How is Yupi doing -- PLEASE keep us apprised!

Mary Cromley
.about a year ago

The petition noted was closed December 2012.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin3 years ago

Whatever is popular with the public! Well, why not put some politicians in a cage to be goaked at and fed scraps from visitors? Wild animals aren't ours to to what we like with. If it's difficult to keep them safe in their natural habitats, sanctuaries and other places with plenty of space and protection will be the next best thing.

Georgia Armstrong
Georgia a.3 years ago

Polar bears have always been my favorite animals. I hate seeing them locked in cages in zoos but if what the scientists say is true, that will be the only place we will see them within the next forty years. It's a crying shame to look at something that has been around almost forever and know it's facing extinction, mostly because of mankind and through no fault of it's own. They are the most magnificient, gorgeous animal to me and when the mama is wandering the wilds of the north with a couple of cubs, it just makes my heart sing. But now when I see photos of them, the first thing I think is "are you still alive or have you starved to death by now or been killed by some stupid ass trophy hunter".