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.
Photo credit: Michael J. Linden