Rescue Yupi the Polar Bear from Scorching Mexican Zoo

  • by: Andrew
  • target: Morelia Zoo, local officials and municipal president Wilfrido Lázaro Medina

For 17 hours a day she is locked in a circular holding pen just 15ft wide, which consists solely of a damp concrete floor and walls.  Even her tiny pool is too warm, and filled with chlorine.  Yupi arrived at the city zoo in Morelia, Mexico, at just a few months old and was put in an old grizzly bear pen, where she has remained for the past 21 years. It’s empty of anything for her to do, so Yupi spends all day, every day, sitting in a small patch of shade, repetitively pacing, or trying to cool off in her pool.

Now there is a campaign to rehome Yupi a little closer to her natural territory, where the weather is colder and she’ll get to play in the snow with other bears as she should.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster, England, is building a state-of-the-art $1.2 million USD (£750,000) polar bear reserve and research centre on a vast 15 acre site. It will feature naturally crafted hills, lakes and Arctic plants. Here Yupi will be able to swim, forage and roam around alongside other bears the park hopes to rescue from cruel ­conditions around the world. The park will also be dedicating a specialist keeper to keep the intelligent ­predators stimulated with a range of activities from scent-marking to hunting games. Importantly, the site will not be captively breeding.

Please help by showing your support to encourage the relocation of Yupi to these better conditions so that she can enjoy her later life in comfort. In doing so we believe this would enhance the Morelia Zoo's reputation as a forward thinking, ethical facility and a leader amongst Mexican zoos.

(Sources: Mirror News &

To: Morelia Zoo Director, the Mayor of Morelia, and the Governor of Michoacan, Mexico.


Dear Sirs/Madames:


We, the undersigned, are concerned about the continued housing and display of Yupi the polar bear at the Parque Zoologico Benito Juarez (Morelia Zoo) and support moving her to a more appropriate naturalistic home in a much more appropriate climate. We believe this action is needed as a matter of urgency.


Polar bears are uniquely adapted for life in colder environments and cope poorly in temperate and tropical climates such as Mexico. 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 to zoo guests.


We believe Yupi should be moved for many reasons reasons including:


  • Relocating Yupi would enhance the Morelia Zoo's reputation as a forward thinking, ethical facility and a leader amongst Mexican zoos.

  • Viewing opportunities are limited to partial observation through several cloudy windows.

  • As the only Arctic species, Yupi is out of place in the Morelia Zoo's collection of temperate and tropical animal species.

  • Morelia has a warm climate year-round and Yupi is not provided with a cold environment.

  • Yupi's enclosure is grossly undersized and does not provide enough room to facilitate natural movements, excerise and behaviours.

  • Yupi's enclosure is almost devoid of structural enhancements, furnishings or materials to encourage natural movements or behaviours. Yupi's daily management regime is predictable and simplistic.

  • Yupi is locked in a small off-exhibit holding area (a small concrete room) up to 16 hours each day. The floors are smooth concrete and there is sparse natural light inside the holding area.

  • Yupi's outdoor enclosure is comprised entirely of hard concrete surfaces. There are no natural substrate areas provided to encourage natural digging and foraging behaviours or for the making of day beds.

  • Yupi's outdoor enclosure does not provide sufficient shade or relief from Morelia's warm climate. The water in Yupi's pool is not cooled.

  • Yupi engages in prolonged bouts of stereotypic behaviours and/or is lethargic - clear indications of an abnormal interaction between herself and her surroundings.

There are now other suitable facilities currently willing to provide Yupi with a permanent home where she can enjoy an expansive natural space to roam, including more complex environments, and a cooler, more suitable climate.


For the reasons stated above, we strongly encourage you to do whatever you can to ensure that Yupi is relocated as soon as possible.


Thank you for considering this letter.


Sincerely yours,
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