Animal Welfare Organization Campaigns to Free ‘World’s Saddest Polar Bear’

November 20, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. enclosure / ɛnˈkloʊ ʒər / (n.) – an area that is surrounded by walls
Example: The enclosure was built to protect the farmer’s plants.

2. subpar / sʌbˈpɑr / (adj.) – below average
Example: The employee was fired because of his subpar performance.

3. cramped / kræmpt / (adj.) – describing a space that is very small and uncomfortable
Example: There are several campers inside the cramped tent.

4. captivity / kæpˈtɪv ɪ ti / (n.) – the condition of being kept as a prisoner
Example: The wildcat was released today after eight months in captivity.

5. impair / ɪmˈpɛər / (v.) – to cause something to become worse in value, ability, or quality
Example: The noise outside impaired the student’s ability to focus in class.


Read the text below.
Over 800,000 people have signed a petition to free a polar bear being exhibited at a mall.

Pizza, dubbed as “the world’s saddest polar bear,” is housed in a small enclosure inside the Grandview Mall in China. The mall faced criticism after Animals Asia, an animal welfare organization, revealed that the polar bear, as well as other wild animals in its indoor zoo, are living in subpar conditions.

The zoo also houses wolves, Arctic foxes, walruses, and beluga whales—most of which are in spaces too cramped for them. Also, the enclosures have no natural elements or even sunlight. Furthermore, the animals are constantly subject to a stream of visitors who take pictures and videos through a glass exhibit.

Animals Asia’s director Dave Neale believes that the current state of the animals has a massive impact on their physical and mental health. In relation to this, an Oxford University study proved that being kept in captivity can impair an animal’s behavior. The study found that polar bears, lions, and tigers feel distressed when kept in small enclosures.

In an attempt to close down the zoo, Animals Asia started a petition to release the animals, which has gathered more than half a million signatures to date. A British zoo has even volunteered to take Pizza into a facility designed for polar bears.

However, the owners of the mall have denied the public’s pleas, and announced their plans to expand the zoo. The mall’s deputy manager, Li Chengtang, insisted that they have made improvements to the animals’ living conditions in response to the petition. 

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Where do you think should Pizza be placed? Why?
·         If the mall’s management plans to keep the animals, what should be done to the indoor zoo? Discuss.

Discussion B

·         What do you think are better alternatives to zoos?
·         In your opinion, in which situations is it okay for an animal to be placed in a zoo?

November 20, 2016