POLAR BEAR AT WINNIPEG'S ASSINIBOINE PARK ZOO
WINNIPEG - Despite the offer, and the overwhelming viral attention, an overheated polar bear in a South American zoo won't be coming to Winnipeg.
The Assiniboine Park Conservancy has been in contact with the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina for weeks, trying to see if a transfer north would help the 28-year-old bear, known as Arturo.
Viral online videos have shown it languishing in hot weather, prompting international outcry.
But Arturo's medical records don't go back far enough for the zoos to draw up the required permits.
To bring an animal into Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency requires specific records dating back at least three years.
Assiniboine Park representatives intend to participate in a Skype meeting on Friday to help assess the bear's health, and have offered to send a member of their veterinary team in the near future to evaluate his environment and make possible recommendations for improvements.
The Mendoza Zoo has been under media fire since reports surfaced of Arturo's deplorable conditions, where it sits in a shallow, tepid pool of water, in 35C temperatures, staring at a picture of snow.
"Arturo is in a small cage, with no space to walk, he has no stimulation - and the weather is awful for a polar bear," said Maria Fernanda Arentsen, a professor at Universite de Saint-Boniface, who spearheaded the months-long campaign to bring Arturo to Winnipeg.