Campaign to move polar bear grows
WINNIPEG—An online campaign to have an elderly polar bear in Argentina sent to Winnipeg’s zoo is gaining momentum with former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich joining the call to save Arturo.
Arturo gained worldwide attention after photos and video of him in sweltering heat at Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo went viral on the Internet.
Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo has a new polar bear facility and is home to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.
However, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy says Arturo doesn’t have the required medical records and documentation needed for a Canadian import permit.
Without specific medical records dating back a minimum of three years, a permit can’t be issued and conservancy officials say Mendoza Zoo representatives in Argentina are not able to fulfil the requirement.
The Mendoza Zoo has said it assessed Arturo’s condition and determined he wasn’t healthy enough to make the trip to Canada.
On Thursday, Laura Cabak of the Assiniboine Zoo said they had offered to send a veterinarian to help make possible improvements to Arturo’s care and living conditions, but the trip was cancelled at the last minute by Mendoza officials.
Winnipeg zoo staff have not been invited to reschedule the trip.