Conservationists have slammed the opening of a new hotel in China for its polar bear enclosure which has been likened to a 'prison'.
Built in the heart of the hotel to better allow non-stop viewing pleasure of its guests who can look straight out from their room windows, a video has surfaced showing the bears photographed by crowds under harsh warm lights, tottering in a space filled with fake icicles and rocks, and plastic-looking white floor.
Located at "Harbin Polar Land" in northeastern China, the same destination famous for its ice-carving festival, Chinese social media users understand the connection — but have expressed unease at the extent of the marketing gimmick.
"A panoramic prison for polar bears... haven't we learned anything about animal cruelty?" said one commentator, according to a Yahoo news report.
PETA Asia's Vice President Jason Baker chimed in to the global condemnation, saying that "polar bears belong in the Arctic, not in zoos or glass boxes in aquariums — and certainly not in hotels". He added that in the wild, these bears usually roam terrains spanning thousands of miles.
"Gaps in China's wildlife protection law allows businesses to exploit animals without any concern for their welfare," an unnamed spokesman for China Animal Protection Network, told Agence France-Presse.