China: polar bears locked in hotel! Guests stare from their beds into the enclosure – news abroad

“Whether you are eating, playing or sleeping – our polar bears will always keep you company.”

With these words a hotel in China advertises its incomparable and at the same time unworthy “top” feature: The hotel rooms are built in a circle around an enclosure with a water basin in which polar bears are locked – for the entertainment of hotel guests. From all hotel rooms and the restaurant area, guests have a clear view of the animals.

The “world’s first polar bear hotel” opened on Friday in Harbin (Heilongjiang Province in northern China). The photos from the hotel are shameful, dismaying, they hurt!


The “first polar bear hotel in the world” opened in northern China on Friday

The “first polar bear hotel in the world” opened in northern China on FridayFoto: STRINGER/REUTERS

The pictures show two full-grown polar bears walking over a simulated ice floe, diving through the water basin or lying around exhausted. Everything under observation of the hotel guests: families with their children are standing all around, everyone is staring at the caged animals, they are filming, taking photos, knocking on the windows.

The hotel is only a small part of the huge “Harbin Polarland”, which has been around since 2005. 21 guest rooms can be booked – and interest is already high, as hotel spokeswoman Yang Liu proudly announces.


Oppressive: A little boy watches the polar bears frolic in the tiny enclosure

Oppressive: A little boy watches the polar bears frolic in the tiny enclosureFoto: STRINGER/REUTERS

Animal welfare organizations harshly criticized the opening and keeping of the animals in the hotel.

Peta Vice Jason Baker said on Saturday: “Polar bears belong in the Arctic, not in zoos behind glass in aquariums – and certainly not in hotels. In freedom, polar bears are on the move for up to 18 hours a day. You can travel thousands of kilometers, have a real life. “


While the animals in nature are used to covering long distances every day, here they are surrounded by panes of glass and gazers

While the animals in nature are used to covering long distances every day, here they are surrounded by panes of glass and gazersFoto: STRINGER/REUTERS

Not so in the polar bear hotel in Harbin – even if the operators see it very differently. According to Yang Liu, the interior is only part of the enclosure. If the outside temperatures and the air quality allowed it, the bears should also go outside.


The bears can only use the outdoor area if the temperatures and air quality allow it

The bears can only use the outdoor area if the temperatures and air quality allow itPhoto: STR / AFP

The prices for an overnight stay in the polar bear hotel in Harbin are between 243 and 294 euros.


One of the bears lies exhausted on the ice

One of the bears lies exhausted on the icePhoto: STR / AFP

On top of that, one or the other visitor may end up paying with a bad conscience …

Animal rights activists have already started several petitions against the polar bear hotel. Among other things, the petition platform “We Act!” Calls for the liberation of animals in “Harbin Polarland”. The slogan of the petition: “Animals are not an attraction, they also have rights!”

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