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Arturo: The White Bear Who is The Black Eye of Argentina

March 5, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

Temperatures reach a scorching 104 degrees in Western Argentina, but that doesn’t stop the city of Mendoza from holding an arctic animal captive in its zoo. And that is only one of the reasons why Arturo the polar bear is going insane.

Polar bear Arturo is depressed and shows signs of insanity

Polar bear Arturo is depressed and shows signs of insanity

The Mendoza Zoo in Western Argentina

The Mendoza Zoo in Western Argentina

For over 20 years, Arturo, who is the only polar bear in Argentina, has been confined to a small concrete pit that deprives him of the ability to do anything that comes naturally to him, including swimming in the open water, traversing the sea ice and hunting for seals. Since Pelusa, his polar bear companion, died in 2012, he has had no contact with members of his own species. His only stimulation is a shallow pool that, according to visitors, is often empty.

Arturo sits in 20" deep pool

Arturo sits in 20″ deep pool

Arturo has been robbed of everything that makes life worth living, and he lets the zoo patrons who peer into his prison cell know it by displaying signs of depression, such as swaying, rocking and pacing.

For many years, activists have advocated to transfer Arturo to a Canadian zoo where the climate is more suitable to polar bears; where the enclosure if far superior and where he’d live with members of his own species. While captivity at Canada’s Assiniboine Park Zoo would be no substitute for freedom, it would be a major improvement for “the world’s saddest animal,” as he is often described.

Assiniboine Park Zoo's  polar bear exhibit - where Arturo should be

Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new polar bear exhibit opened in 2014 (photo: Mike Deal, Winnipeg Free Press)

In response to a 2014 petition with 400,000 signatures demanding the the Mendoza Zoo relocate him to Canada, the Zoo’s director stated that Arturo must stay on the grounds that the journey could kill him. But captivity is killing him right now, which is why activists believe the transfer to this facility in Canada is well worth the risk:

Like Nosey the elephant and Lolita the orca, Arturo has captured the attention of activists worldwide and has become a global symbol of the barbarity of animal captivity. But, with the Mendoza Zoo refusing to transfer him, Arturo’s advocates are working to determine the best approach to helping him.

For the moment, #FreeArturo  and #Storm4Arturo “tweet storms” are keeping his plight in the public consciousness. In 2014, both Cher and Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted on his behalf.

Cher Tweets for Arturo the Polar Bear

Cher tweets in support of relocating Arturo to Canada

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, tweets for Arturo

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, tweets for Arturo

Your Turn

To keep apprised and participate in the effort to relocate Arturo, please “like” Free ArturoSave Polar Bear Arturo and Proyecto Ecoparque Mendoza (local group in Mendoza) on Facebook.

If you have a Twitter account, please use the #Tweet4Arturo Facebook page as a resource to tweet on his behalf.

Sign the petition.

Share this article with others to raise awareness of the plight of Arturo and all animals held captive for entertainment and profit.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. anita culling says:

    Another year and more petitions for this poor bear who us still stuck in this living hell.
    I dont even know if this comment will be seen. This bear should be freed. There is very little compassion towards animals in this world anymore. Whats wrong with people

  2. Please come to the aid of Arturo, a creature who is loved by the suffering Christ. It is the responsibility of living, breathing people to abate and resolve the painful circumstances in which this beautiful bear is forced to live. I beg you zoo staff to send him to a proper climate or else to improve his own living quarters. Let some cooling ice slide beneath what would be his grateful and imposing paws. Think of the joy of children to see him swim in a colossal glass enclosure where he could paddle his catcher`s mit size “polar fins” in the delight of renewal of a new home. It would so help his psyche, and anyone involved in this healing effort couldn`t help but feel nearly sacred about themselves. Please choose wisely for Arturo. You may write me for further suggestions. I`d love to help. If the desire is there, the Lord will make a way.

  3. Trude henriksen says:

    Do the right thing.

  4. Is a zoo supposed to be a place where we can watch an animal die ? this is the most inhumane thing I have ever seen….Set him FREE..!!!

  5. Angelina Miranda says:

    Terrible this poor bear doesn’t belong here. …

  6. maureen hanratty says:

    It makes one ashamed to be a human being such a sad soul this bear should not be kept like this – if I was God all this cruelty by man to his creatures would make me cry. So so shameful it hurts my heart every time I read a case of horrid cruelty and unkindness to any animal great or small.

  7. ortun maud says:

    Please free ARTHURO

  8. How much longer can you people ignore public opinion? Shame on you all you hateful people!!!

  9. Debbie watmore says:

    This is just terrible,this poor beautiful animal suffering like this. Totally uneceptable

  10. Roy S. says:

    What selfishness! How appalling!

  11. Greg Holden says:

    Please send this poor bear to a sanctuary or that Canadian zoo he is clearly depressed and it is very inhumane to keep him there. It figures these ignorant Argentinans won’t listen to reason 3rd world assholes.

  12. Debra says:

    Please rescue this innocent bear. What cruelty!

  13. Judith Smith says:

    Please set him free this is no life at all

  14. Alexis Sourasky says:

    Get him out of there!!!

  15. Natalie P says:

    Please send Arturo to a sanctuary!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Barb Bradish says:

    Please free Arturo!

  17. Diane Caldwell says:

    If an animal is born in the snow, it belongs in the snow, if an animal is born in the forest, it belongs in the forest, if an animal is born in the ocean, it belongs in the ocean. If an animal is born in Africa, it belongs in Africa. Is this really so hard to understand?

  18. Klara Sabova says:

    i asking you to set him free!!!!!! He is suffering….20years alone!!!!! In warm country!!!! What a idiot brought him there???? People has no brain at all!!!!!!!! I hate you!!!!!!!!! Set him free now!!!!!!

  19. Hi! Several weeks’ ago, I started another petition not only for Arturo the Polar Bear, but also for yet another poor soul at the Mendoza Zoo living in deplorable conditions. Her name is Cecilia, and she’s a Chimpanzee.

    If anyone is interested, please sign my petition on and/or forward on to others who would be kind enough to sign as well. My aim is to send the petition on to the Mendoza Zoo AND Argentinian government once the petition has 100,000 signatures on it (if I’m blessed enough to get that many). If not, I’ll send anyway within the next month or two along with a personalized letter. I plan on sending copies to every major newspaper in Canada and the United States as well.

    1. Donny Moss says:

      Dear Elinor:
      We’ve added your petition to the story. Thank you for creating it and bringing it to our attention!

      1. Elinor Hawke-Szady says:

        Hello Donny. THANK YOU for posting my petition! Since you posted it, more people have signed!!! I really hope and pray these poor animals can be re-located to an environment where they can spend the rest of their days in comfort – happy at last.

  20. naomi cohen says:

    these living conditions are so unacceptable. your greed overtakes your senses. this beautiful animal must be taken to a sanctuary that allows him to live, not just barely survive. you should be ashamed big time.

  21. To knowingly inflict this kind of suffering on any animal you would have to have no morals, ethics or humanity.
    If you lack any empathy or kindness to anything that has to submit to your wishes you would have to have no heart. How would you yourself like to be made to suffer? Do you enjoy the smallest amount of suffering? Or like all people do you do all you can for yourself to avoid suffering and make yourself happy? Why should your need and desire for happiness be any different from this animals? You also extremely ignorant of the unfailing law of cause and effect. Don’t you realize that every single thing we do good and bad returns to us? Even science verifies this fact. By allowing this animal to be tortured like this you are storing up enormous amounts of suffering for yourself in the future which will be ten times worse then what this animal is going through, you are very foolish.

  22. helene weinstein says:

    what kind of caveman mentality is responsible for the misery of this beautiful and majestic
    creature??? get his poor limp body out of your hell hole and place him where he can spend the
    rest of his days in the comfort he deserves!!!!

  23. Keili says:

    This is not okay!! Whoever thinks this is okay should’ve put in a cell for the rest of their life!

  24. Zelda Penzel says:

    Arturo is surely the saddest animal in the world, a helpless victim of studipity, ignorance and greed! He is joined by all the wild/exotic animals exploited in zoos, circuses and marine exhibits/safari parks everywhere.
    FREE ARTURO!!! FREE LOLITA!!!, FREE NOSEY!!! FREE THE ELEPHANTS IN THE BRONX ZOO! These are living beings with physical and emotional needs that cannot be met so long as they are prisoners of “entertainment”, amusement for the naive and simple people who are thinking only of their own narcissistic pleasures!

  25. mirtha velez says:


  26. Sharon Fried Rudd says:

    Arturo is the embodiment of the truth that there is such a thing as a fate worse than death. Praying for his suffering to end, and that he may know all of the freedom, joy, and comfort in his next life that has been denied to him in this one.

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