Alone in a concrete prison: meet Morelia Zoo’s polar bear
Yupi is a female polar bear who was brought to the Morelia Zoo in Mexico in 1992 when she was only 3 months old. She came from Alaska as an orphaned cub. Upon arrival at the Mexican zoo Yupi was placed in an old grizzly bear pen. This is the pen in which she still lives today… she’s is now 20 years old.
Since Mexico is located in the southern portion of North America, and Morelia is located in the central part of Mexico, Yupi is exposed to a tropical climate year-round, meaning that temperatures remain high throughout the year. This is dramatically different from what Yupi would experience in her native Alaska, where below freezing winters and cooler summers are the norm.
In addition, Yupi’s daily management regime is predictable and routine with little stimulation of any kind. She does not have any environmental enrichment and feeding occurs on a schedule at specific times of the day. But probably the most alarming thing about Yupi’s life is the fact that she is confined in her holding area (a dank, barren, concrete bunker) for the bulk of each day, in conditions far worse than her main enclosure.
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Dear Mayor of Morelia and Director of Morelia Zoo,
After reading about her on 3dayz.com, I am deeply concerned about the continued housing and display of Yupi the polar bear at the Parque Zoologico Benito Juarez (Morelia Zoo) in Mexico. I support moving her to a more appropriate naturalistic accommodation in a more appropriate climate as soon as possible and would like for you to team up with Zoocheck Canada for advice in this matter.
Polar bears are uniquely adapted for life in cold environments and do poorly in temperate and tropical climates. In the wild, they inhabit extremely large home ranges, occupying one of the largest living spaces of any terrestrial animal species. They spend significant time hunting and tracking prey, walking, socializing and playing.
At the Morelia Zoo, Yupi is housed in an antiquated, undersized, barren enclosure that does not satisfy her biological and behavioural needs. She is the only Arctic animal in a collection of temperate and tropical species and opportunities for viewing Yupi are extremely limited by her enclosure.
I understand that there are suitable facilities currently willing to provide Yupi with a permanent home where she can enjoy an expansive natural space to roam, more complex environments, and a colder, more suitable climate. I strongly encourage you to ensure that Yupi is relocated as soon as possible.
Thank you for considering this letter.
20 years in a Mexican jail
Yupi has lived in this garbage pail
In a climate unnatural, bored
To be moved to those better
So her life can be resurrected
Karen Lyons Kalmenson