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In this March 20 photo released by Greenpeace, Arturo, a 28-year-old polar bear, stands inside his cage at the Mendoza Zoo. / Delfo Rodriguez, AP

Despite worldwide appeals to move him to Canada, Arturo the polar bear will remain at a zoo in Argentina, the zoo's director says.

Animal rights groups have called Arturo "the world's saddest bear," pointing to what they say are hot and cramped conditions at his current home.

Mendoza Zoo Director Gustavo Pronotto told the Associated Press that Arturo is just old and relocating the 28-year-old bear would be risky.

"Arturo is close to his caretakers," Pronotto told the AP. "We just want everyone to stop bothering the bear."

Environmental groups including Greenpeace argue Mendoza gets too hot for a polar bear, with temperatures that reach 86 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2012, a polar bear died at a Buenos Aires zoo during a heat wave.

Several petitions on Change.org have called for Arturo to be transferred to Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada. One petition, which addresses Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has more than 700,000 signatures.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich also joined in the calls to move Arturo, saying in a video posted last week on Facebook, "If you love animals the way I do, you're going to want to sign the petition to save the Argentinian polar bear Arturo."

Contributing: The Associated Press



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Zoo director: Arturo the polar bear too old to move to Canada

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