Polar bears stuck in small area as ‘neighbours of guests’ in Chinese hotel

Animal rights activists have slammed a Chinese hotel that created hotel rooms around an area with harsh lights and concrete floors where polar bears are kept. The hotel wants to give guests the ‘pleasure’ of non-stop watching polar bears suffering through their hotel room window.

At Harbin Polarland, the windows of the hotel rooms face onto the polar bears’ pen; visitors are told the animals are their “neighbours 24 hours a day”. 

A video shows the polar bears photographed by crowds of guests under harsh warm lights, in a cramped area with fake rocks and ice, and a white painted floor. 

Animal rights organizations reacted with outrage, urging customers to stay away from Harbin Polar Land that profits “from animals’ misery”. 

“Polar bears belong in the Arctic, not in zoos or glass boxes in aquariums and certainly not in hotels,” Jason Barker, PETA Asia’s vice president, said. In the wild, polar bears usually roam territories that can span thousands of miles, he added. 

Panoramic prison for polar bears
Harbin Polarland is a polar theme park with live animal shows and sights. The hotel looks like a giant igloo, but some Chinese social media users expressed unease at the park going to this extreme to display animals. 

“A panoramic prison for polar bears… haven’t we learned anything about animal cruelty?” one commentator said. 

“Gaps in China’s wildlife protection law allows businesses to exploit animals without any concern for their welfare,” a spokesman for China Animal Protection Network told AFP. Chinese circuses and zoos are often criticized for poor standards in animal housing and care. 

“After seeing a few enclosures, we felt very bad and wanted to leave the place as soon as possible. The pool of sea lions was maybe 40 cm high, two polar bears were kept in a 30 square meters cage, and most animals looked very unhappy,” a visitor said on TripAdvisor.

“The enclosures for the mammals (wolves, polar bears, and beluga whales) are way too small, and these animals look pretty miserable,” another visitor said.

“Sad to see the polar bears and wolves, used to roaming 100s of kms, pace about in such small places,” another said. “Here, you’ll get to see a stressed and depressed polar bear pacing in his too small cell.”

The Animal Reader is an animal news website. We want to encourage people to question whether it’s ethically and morally correct to treat animals the way we do in our society. We do this by reporting on news about animal welfare. If you can, please consider supporting animal journalism.

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