China govt rejects endangered species mall zoo
AN AQUARIUM in a mall in China's Guangzhou city, where a polar bear is caged in a constrained space, will have to give up its plan to add a zoo containing "endangered species", as the government has rejected the idea.
China's Forestry Administration issued a statement on Monday saying that any domestication and breeding activity involving endangered species that is not conducive to the animals' conservation will not receive a permit.
The office specifically mentioned Guangzhou's Grandview Aquarium, whose managing company was planning to build an animal park on the seventh floor of the mall building, in addition to the aquarium on the lower floors.
The office also attached a report by Shanghai's The Paper news website about widespread protest against the expansion plan.
According to The Paper, endangered species such as the giant panda, red panda and white tiger are on the company's planned menagerie list.
The park is supposed to cram about 400 animals into a space of less than 6,000 sq m, which is smaller than a football field, said The Paper.
"There is no precedent of pandas being kept in a mall zoo. Such an idea needs to be scientifically studied," The Paper quoted Wan Hui, who manages the World Wildlife Fund's panda conservation effort, as saying.
The aquarium found itself in global limelight recently after footage of a forlorn-looking polar bear named Pizza, kept in a 40 sq m cage, went viral online.
Last week, the BBC reported that the aquarium declined Britain's Yorkshire Wildlife Park's offer to take in Pizza.
Yesterday, Xie Meng, the head of the business chamber involved in developing Guangzhou's Tianhe Road district, told the media that the aquarium is a key part of a plan to inject vibrancy into the area.
Mr Xie said the mall will hold a public forum every month to discuss improvement of animal welfare, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. AGENCIES