A Polar Bear in Mexico            (Español)  

The Yupi campaign in 2015

In May 2015, Zoocheck sent a three person expert team to the Morelia Zoo to conduct a preliminary health and welfare assessment of Yupi. The visit was done in cooperation with zoo officials and was facilitated by the Governor of Michoacan. The team looked at Yupi's physical condition, behaviour and captive conditions. In addition, the team and two Zoocheck representatives met with zoo management, elected officials and local NGOs. A REPORT was forwarded to the Governor's office and the zoo for their consideration. It was clear from the visit that while improvements have been made to Yupi's housing and husbandry conditions, her core issues of lack of space, not enough stimulation and an inappropriate climate remain unaddressed. 

In the fall of 2015 an election took place resulting in a new Governor now being in office. He has expressed interest in Yupi's plight and Zoocheck is following up with his office to determine possible courses of action. The wheels of change move slowly and there are still significant obstacles standing the way of helping Yupi.  However, Zoocheck is continuing to push and is still hopeful that Yupi's life can be substantially improved. Sadly, Yupi is no longer a young bear and no one knows how long she may have left, but no matter what happens, Yupi's life has not been without meaning. 


Yorkshire Wildlife Park Offers Yupi a Home

Just a short while ago, the UK-based Yorkshire Wildlife Park (YWP) offered to provide Yupi with a world-class retirement home for the remainder of her life. If the Morelia Zoo would allow Yupi to be transferred, the YWP would construct a large, naturalistic enclosure in which Yupi could engage in a broad range of movements and behaviours. Media in the United Kingdom and Mexico have highlighted the YWP offer but, so far, the Morelia Zoo has not been responsive. Mexican animal welfare groups are very happy with the YWP offer and hope the zoo responds. British newspapers have called Yupi's current conditions cruel. 


The Yupi Campaign Fall 2013

Throughout 2013 various attempts were made to engage Morelia Zoo officials in a discussion about Yupi's future, but the zoo has been intransigent.

Last month the Morelia zoo was severely criticized by the local media and Mexican animal welfare groups for the zoo's poor animal welfare standards and for the recent death of several animals, including 3 African and Asian elephants in less than 2 years,  one sea lion. 86 parrots and others. 

The Procurator of PROFEPA (The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection) warned that if the Morelia zoo doesn't care to manage the zoo with discipline, knowledge and in a serious way, the PROFEPA could relocate their animals to other places.

Due to all the current series of crisis that the State of Michoacan is facing,  especially in its capital Morelia, Yupi's issue has been delayed many times, but our colleagues of the Save Yupi Coalition in Mexico City and Michoacan keep pushing the issue as much as they can.


February 2013 Yupi Update

2012 saw a renewed push to help Yupi. Earlier in the year Zoocheck dispatched an expert team to Morelia. They examined Yupi's conditions, met with government and zoo officials, as well as local and national organizations. Yupi's profile in Mexico and abroad increased substantially and the zoo was under a great deal of pressure throughout the year. Zoocheck continued pushing for a comprehensive medical and welfare assessment of Yupi and offered to send in an expert team at no charge to the zoo. After delaying for quite some time, the Morelia Zoo announced that they could conduct their own health assessment (no mention of a welfare assessment). Their report was released in December and is currently being evaluated by Zoocheck. It does appear that the report suggests Yupi has a health condition that precludes her being moved, but that kind of claim is often put forward by zoos when they don't want animals to be moved. Potential homes for Yupi have been identified and are willing to take her. We'll have more on this campaign soon. In the meantime, please continue to write to the officials on the Take Action page of this site. Urge them to do the right thing by expediting Yupi's relocation to better conditions elsewhere.


Click to read  -      An Investigative Report, Polar Bears in Mexican Zoos

Renewed 2012 Push to Help Yupi - Join the Campaign!

The campaign to have Yupi relocated to more appropriate accommodation elsewhere has continued and has slowly been building momentum in Mexico and abroad. Yupi is now the most famous animal in Mexico and is rapidly becoming known around the world. While the Morelia Zoo is still not ready to release Yupi, pressure on them is growing. In April representatives of Zoocheck met with the Morelia Zoo administration. At the same time, local organizations and PVEM, the Mexican green party, presented the zoo with a petition containing more than 80,000 signatures urging them to relocate Yupi. As a next step in determining Yupi's future Zoocheck has offered to conduct a full husbandry assessment and comprehensive veterinary check (neither has ever been done) prior to looking at all the options available to Yupi. We should have more news on this soon. In the meantime, please join the campaign or, if you are already involved, continue to send emails and letters to the people listed on the Take Action page of this site. Thank you. 


Yupi is a 22 year old female polar bear living at the Morelia Zoo in Mexico. 

Polar bears have evolved to occupy a narrow ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, moving across snow, ice, open water, and hunting.
All polar bears have basic physical and physiological requirements. They require very cold climate, large spaces, complex natural terrain, and complexity, choice, and control in their daily lives. 

Yupi's life at the Morelia Zoo is deficient in many respects. She spends her time in a tiny and barren enclosure and is forced to live in a tropical climate not at all appropriate for polar bears. The surface of her enclosure is composed entirely of hard concrete, and she has no soft surfaces to walk on or lie in. Additionally, Yupi is locked up in her tiny holding pen for approximately 17 hours each day. This pen is barren, hard, damp, and does not allow in any natural light. Under no circumstances should Yupi be confined in this space for the majority of each day.

The Morelia Zoo claims that Yupi is a valuable asset to their live collection and a showcase animal that is well-liked by members of the public. This seems bizarre considering the very limited viewing opportunities provided to visitors who come to see Yupi.

But there is hope for Yupi. Certainly Yupi is no longer a young bear, but she could survive for a number of years. For whatever time she has left, Yupi should be allowed to enjoy life in better conditions where she can actually do some of the things that polar bears do. She shouldn't have to spend the rest of her life sitting or lying in a concrete exhibit in the heat. Zoocheck has conducted a search for a new permanent home for Yupi and, while we won't say who the potential recipient facilities are,  we will say there is interest in providing Yupi a new home. However, to take things further the Morelia Zoo has to agree that Yupi should be moved to a more appropriate climate and facility that is better suited for polar bears. 

Join Zoocheck in our campaign to give Yupi a better life. Click here to find out what you can do to help. 
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Zoocheck is approaching organizations and groups, asking for their support in the campaign to transfer Yupi to a more appropriate home in a more suitable climate. Yupi has been living alone in a small, barren concrete enclosure in Mexico's warm climate for far too long.
Yupi needs your support.
The Morelia Zoo, as well as local officials, need to know that moving Yupi to a facility in a more suitable climate is in her best interests. We are asking organizations and groups to join our SIGN-ON letter that will be sent to the Morelia Zoo director, as well as to the Mayor of Morelia and the Governor of Michoacan, Mexico.
If your group or organization would like to add their name to the growing sign-on list, please email your name, your organization's name and your location to Zoocheck here.
Thank you!

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