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Pressure is mounting on an aquarium in China to close it's doors, after nearly half a million people have signed a petition.

The petition has risen after the aquarium's polar bear that lives in a glass enclosure in the middle of a shopping centre in China, has gained online attention and been dubbed the "world's saddest animal."

Living alone in the enclosure, the footage shows the animal to be lethargic and trying to ignore the knocking and flashing cameras of visitors.

The bear, named Pizza, is one of the animals kept at Grandview shopping centre in Guangzhou, alongside another polar bear, six belugas, five walrus calves, a wolf and arctic foxes.

"I believe that the cruelty is as much about a lack of knowledge as commercial pressures"

Reportedly, the keepers of the zoo were shocked and saddened by the public's outrage and have taken steps to better conditions.

The aquarium has now started a “programme of enrichment" and is trying to create a more natural environment, but is not showing any sign of releasing the animals.

A wolf in the same aquarium

Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director, said in a statement  “Grandview are genuinely shocked by the international outrage at their aquarium and the awful facilities used to house animals."

"As is so often the case I believe that the cruelty is as much about a lack of knowledge as commercial pressures. It is unlikely that Grandview will close in the near future – although, as a result of the publicity, much of it is currently closed for redesign."

Let's hope that the growing scrutiny that these photos and videos have created will lead to not only an improvement in the lives of these animals, but also a header look at the conditions of all animals living in enclosures all of the world.

Sign the petition here.