300,000 people sign petition calling for closure of 'world's saddest' aquarium

The Chinese attraction has been criticised internationally over reports it houses a polar bear "that suffers for selfies"

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Screenshot: Animals Asia

More than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for the closure of what has been described as 'the world's saddest zoo'.

The aquarium in question is located in the Grandview shopping centre in Guangzhou, and opened in January.

PETA says the aquarium is home to a number of animals, including walrus calves, arctic foxes, young beluga whales and two polar bears.

The organisers of a petition calling for the attraction's closure highlight the plight of one of the bears - named Pizza, The Guardian reports - who is said to be the "tragic polar bear that suffers for selfies".

According to Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale, the bear "has no peace and nothing natural to take comfort in [...] Information on how best to try to meet the complex physical and behavioural needs of captive polar bears is freely available and yet this animal has been willfully incarcerated in this way.

“We are calling on the Chinese public not to attend this attraction. We are calling for it to be closed down. This is a bear that suffers for what? For selfies? For shopping?”

Animals Asia says there is an investigation ongoing into "rumours that animals died or were hurt when being moved into the aquarium".

As of writing, more than 300,000 people have signed the group's petition.

Mr Neale says he has met with aquarium management twice, and that the bear keeper has been making efforts to improve the quality of life of the animals.

"We run the risk by advising Grandview, of being seen as legitimising such conditions – but we can’t walk away," he said. "By continuing to talk and advise we can help make significant changes."