Odd polar bear hotel opens in China | Polarjournal
The new hotel in Harbin shows the polar bears ‘up close’ behind bulletproof glass and promises boastfully to “sleep together” with them at night. (Photo: Harbin Polar Park)

A new hotel has opened in the northern Chinese city of Harbin – with polar bears taking centre stage. The hotel building was built around a polar bear enclosure to give guests a permanent view of the animals. The outcry was great, animal protection organizations react with indignation about the opening of the new hotel.

Dangerously close to the polar bears. Whether these enjoy their situation is to be doubted. (Photo: Harbin Polar Park)

The operators of the “Harbin Polar Park” proudly announce that they have recently opened “The World’s First Polar Bear Hotel”.

The illuminated enclosure consists of artificial shaped stones and a white painted concrete floor. The “Harbin Polar Park” is built in such a way that all 33 rooms have a clear view of the enclosure.

The Hotel website promises: ʺFrom every room you can watch the polar bears through bulletproof glass and “sleep together “ʺ with them at night. It goes on to say: ʺVisitors can look down on the polar bear and dine with the polar bear while eating, and: You can accompany the polar bears around the clock for 24 hoursʺ.

The project cost 100 million yuan, the equivalent of just under 13 million euros. The hotel was jointly designed by the famous Russian designer Kozylenko Natalia Yefremovna and the famous Japanese theme park designer Shuji Miyajima.

Visitors can look down on the polar bear and dine with the polar bear while eating. The whole presentation and the layout already seem pretty cheesy. (Photo: Harbin Polar Park)

Gaps in the Chinese Animal Welfare Law

Animal rights activists are now calling on customers to boycott the hotel. “Stay away from this hotel that profits from the misery of animals,” it says on social media.

“Polar bears belong in the Arctic, not in zoos or glass boxes in aquariums – and certainly not in hotels,” said Jason Baker, vice president of Peta Asia.

“Loopholes in China’s animal protection law allow companies to exploit animals without regard for their welfare,” said a spokesman for the China Animal Protection Network.

Following speculation about the origin of the coronavirus, Chinese authorities have changed the law to ban the consumption of wild animals as food.

However, the use of parts of endangered species in traditional medicine is still permitted and widespread. Another evil is Chinese circuses and zoos, which have always been criticized for poor standards of animal housing and care.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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