Yupi is a female polar bear who was brought to the Morelia Zoo in Mexico in 1992. While there is conflicting information about how old she was when she arrived at the zoo, we do know she was somewhere between 3 months and 2 years of age. She came from Alaska as an orphan. It's possible her mother was shot and killed by a hunter or by a resident who thought she was coming too close.
Upon arrival at the Mexican zoo, Yupi was placed in an old grizzly bear pen. This is the pen that she still lives in today, and Yupi is now 22 years old. While Yupi is no longer a young bear, it's possible she could survive another five or more years.
Since Mexico is located in the southern portion of North America, and Morelia is located in the central part of Mexico, Yupi is exposed to a tropical climate year-round, meaning that temperatures remain high throughout the year. This is dramatically different from what Yupi would experience in her native Alaska, where below freezing winters and cooler summers are the norm. Yupi is not biologically prepared to live in Mexico.
Polar bears have evolved to live in extremely cold climates and are physiologically and behaviourally adapted to cold conditions. They do not cope well in warm climates. Yupi's pool is not adequately cooled and her enclosure lacks anything that would mitigate the effects of Morelia's climate.
|In addition, Yupi’s daily management regime is predictable and routine. She does not have any environmental enrichment and feeding occurs on a schedule at specific times of the day. She has little stimulation of any kind
Any visitor to the Morelia Zoo can go and obeserve Yupi spending the majority of the day sitting, lying or swimming in what appeared to be a repetitive, probably stereotypic, fashion. The effects of barren captive environments on polar bears have been well documented; there is no doubt that Yupi’s life is currently one of deprivation, frustration and boredom.
Zoocheck would like to have Yupi relocated to better accommodation in a more suitable climate.
Zoocheck does not support the continued display of Yupi in her existing enclosure, even if housing and husbandry improvements are made as they will not adequately address Yupi's problems. Morelia is not an appropriate location for the keeping of polar bears and other arctic species.