Arturo Update: The Polar Bear Dubbed ‘world’s saddest animal’

Last year Arturo made headlines when Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Conservancy contacted the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina hoping to move him to their zoo in Canada.  

Noting blistering summer temperatures in Mendoza and very evident stereotypy movements seen in YouTube videos, indicating Arturo appeared to be in distress.

But the Mendoza Zoo lacked the medical records Canada required for the move. The Mendoza Zoo also said that Arturo is not healthy enough to withstand the transfer, the Government of Mendoza accepted that assessment and decided that Arturo would remain in Mendoza.

Recently the Assiniboine Park released a statement clarifying they were not invited to participate in that assessment nor were they given access to any health records.

This year the Assiniboine Park also had a planned trip for the end of March to evaluate the Mendoza Zoo and provide recommendations; but that trip cancelled by Mendoza officials and has not invited them to reschedule the trip. The offer still stands.

Over a year later Arturo is starting to go viral after being dubbed “world’s saddest animal” and a petition has reached over half a million signatures.

Ontario Police Use Social Media To Shame Before Conviction - TLA

The practice began in 2005 as a part of the Festive R.I.D.E. program when Durham police began publishing an annual report of individuals charged with impaired driving, exceeding the limit or refusing a blood / breath sample. This was publicized as a service to help deter impaired driving but sparked controversy giving it the nickname “name-and-shame”.

In 2009 the Privacy Commission of Ontario ordered Cornwall police to stop placing drug-search warrant signs outside homes they searched, before they were convicted.


June 7, 2011 the GSPS (Greater Sudbury Police Service) launched a weekly report “Impaired Related Incidents” which details the name, age and description of the individuals charge.

Last year the NRPS (Niagara Regional Police Service) started a weekly “Criminal Impaired Driving Offences” report. NRPS released the first 29 names, ages and hometowns of any individual charged with impaired driving, exceeding the limit or refusing a blood / breath sample on Dec 23, 2013.

GSPS and NRPS go one step further by releasing the full list on Facebook and NRPS cross promotes on Twitter. NRPS has since released a total of 91 names of individuals charged. According to StatsCan 1 in 5 cases of impaired driving are found not guilty this would mean about 18 people have been listed and could be damaging their reputations.

Abby Deshman, of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association told the Toronto Sun “The practice is concerning,” “The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law is a cornerstone of our justice system.”

Regardless of public opinion Canada’s future will likely have more Social Media Officers, managing your local police department’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and sharing your neighbor’s charges.

Note: Winnipeg police also started releasing names, ages and cities of suspected drunk drivers during the holiday season in 2007.

By Bret Botham