French Citizens Unite To Protest Treatment Of Polar Bears

A recent film that showed two polar bears in the French Riveria suffering from the extreme heat has resulted in more than 130,000 citizens of France adding their names to a petition that calls for the polar bears' relocation.

The C'est Assez association has contacted Nicolas Hulot, the French Environment Minister, by mail with a request that the polar bears, named Flocke and Raspoutine, be moved from the Marineland Park in Antibes where they are presently located, and relocated to an environment that is more conducive to the bears' physiology.

Petitioners responded promptly to the video that was made in June and showed Flocke and Raspoutine seeking relief from the sun. The polar bears were unable to find the relief they sought due to the wire rack that restricted their movement. The video was posted to Facebook and showed the bears frothing at the mouth. The posting has now received more than one million views.

The petition that is circulating due to the concerns French citizens have for the polar bears was written before the current heat wave and says 'that's enough' in response to the perceived mistreatment of the bears.

The Association pointed out that no shade was available to provide the polar bears with relief from the sun. It was also noted that a refrigerated cellar did exist, but its access to Flocke and Raspoutine was blocked by the presence of the wire rack. The Association concluded that providing the polar bears with no relief from the heat amounted to inhumane treatment.

The Association consulted with an expert on animals that explained polar bears have never been seen in their natural habitat with white foam coming from their mouths. The animal expert said that there is no reason to believe anything other than the condition of the bears was a result of the stress due to extreme overheating of their bodies.

The head of Marineland, Pascal Picot, defended the park and said that the bears are not being mistreated in any way. He characterized the circulating petition as a "document filled with lies."

Picot said that no wire rack existed in the enclosure and that more than one shaded area existed to provide the bears with relief from the sun. He also said that the "frothing" at the mouth is attributed to mating behavior and has been observed many times in the wild.

The Association was unmoved by Picot's explanation and is calling for a full ban on mammals being held captive in the country of France.

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