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Save Tongki the Polar Bear, Everland Zoo, South Korea

This petition had 3,436 supporters

Tongki is a male polar bear who was captive born. He Resides at Everland zoo, Yongin Province, Seoul, South Korea. This facility is owned by Samsung. Tongki is 21 years old.  Until May of 2015 he shared his exhibit with 2 other polar bears. He is now alone.

The park where Tongki resides was opened in 1976, Housed in an old style designed bear pit. Tongki is suffering due to enduring suboptimal conditions that fail to satisfy his biological & behavioural needs. He is  prevented & restricted from carrying  out any of his natural behaviours'  foraging for food, digging & building his own dens & beds. Polar bears are naturally very visual creatures.

Tongki has no soft substrate, or play areas containing  sand, wood chip, bark, or mulch. Other than the existing  rocks and a small log which offers  him no enrichment within his exhibit.  

Tongki's outdated exhibit contains a small concrete ledge, he has no access to fresh drinking water. We feel this is an essential and basic requirement.  Within his exhibit is his small pool. Although polar bears are surface swimmers, the depth of his pool is non existent.

Polar bears are vast ranging solitary mammals, their land mammals first, aquatic mammals second, With this in mind their exhibits should mimic their natural habitat by way of space, and enrichment enhancing their welfare on a physical, social, psychological and behavioural level.

Korean summers are hot and humid, and they are true torture for Tongki. Polar bears do not have any physiological or morphological means of staying cool (such as sweat glands). Captive polar bears are often seen mimicking the same behaviour methods that dogs do in order to cool down, such as slobbering tongues and panting. Many will also adopt different postures when lying or sleeping, often lying spread-eagled in their efforts to dissipate heat. Polar bears groins and armpits are the only areas on their bodies that they have little fur and no fat, where heat can escape. Tongki has also been a victim of Algae, although this does not harm him, Algae cells suit the hollow hairs on bears due to his fur being warm and moist. This rampant infestation of the fur is a clear indication  clearly telling us that Tongki's body is hot. Not forgetting that due to lack of soft substrate Tongki has no way of drying off when he comes out of his pool, with no shelter nor shade from the warmer temperatures or adverse weather conditions. We ask Samsung why this is? In our last letter to the zoo director we requested that during the warmer weather his hatch to his indoor area should be left open, from footage we have received indeed on some occasions this has been done.

We are petitioning Samsung and Everland to carry out the following actions. 1. To construct with the advice and support of polar bear experts,  an adequate reinforced chain link enclosure, containing everything that Tongki needs. Samsung could do this  for as little as £80,000, their  annual profits suggest they can easily afford to do this for him. However, the question is space within the facility of where Tongki's new enclosure would be situated?
Rather than use outdated old polar bear husbandry guidelines from the Manitoba polar bear act of 2003. to try and update his current exhibit.
2. Should they not wish to do this or argue they are not in a financial position to do this, then we feel they should release Tongki to a facility that can care and meet all his needs offering him a permanent secure future. We feel that Samsung and Everland should end the exhibiting of polar bears. Tongki's old home should also not be used to house any other species.

We must all stand together on a united front for Tongki. Samsung hold a lot of power and influence within South Korea. However,  this  does not give them the right to neglect, abuse, withdraw, the basic rights of Tongki. Take at look at his enclosure and ask yourself.


Take a look at his enclosure below. What do you see? anyone can see that Tongki has no source of fresh clean drinking water. Are Samsung really that poor that they cannot afford to provide him with what should be considered a captive species basic right? After hearing how much in profits they made last year we don't believe this.
By continuing to fail to care for him. Samsung and Everland despite claims they have experienced staff with over 30 years of knowledge and care for species. are clearly showing and telling us they don't know how to provide basic animal care to Tongki. It's highly likely that his pool water is contaminated with faecal matter and urine. Yet  despite official letters complaining of this Samsung still ignore Tongki.

By signing this petition, you are signing our official letter of complaint to Everland and Samsung. Concerning Tongki's care on a daily basis and the suffering he is forced to endure daily. 

Mr Yang Beom Kim,

We at Saving the Angels of the Seas, believe Everland and Samsung should  provide an exhibit  that can and should enhance  Tongki, the Polar Bears, welfare. Should Everland and Samsung continue to ignore him, by  failing Tongki.   Then Saving the angels of the seas will aim to secure permanent better conditions for him by pushing for Everland and Samsung  to release Tongki to a facility that can offer Tongki a secure permanent future.

Please do not use the Manitoba polar bear act of 2003, To update Tongki’s existing exhibit, These guidelines themselves are outdated. Polar bear husbandry is changing dramatically.

We hope you would agree that all animals under your protection should be free from hunger and thirst, able to express natural behaviour, free from pain and disease and from fear and stress. We are concerned that Tongki’s current conditions are inadequate, due to the lack of enrichment in his exhibit, where he has no substrate, sand, bark, wood chip or mulch leaving Tongki with nothing to do.

According to animal welfare laws: in keeping, caring and protecting animals, everyone should recognize the dignity and value of animals and shall try, to the maximum extent possible, to preserve the animal's' natural habits and to guarantee their normal lives. Tongki's existing housing in no way preserves his natural habits or guarantee him a normal life, nor has Tongki any dignity by lack of privacy, as he is constantly on display or locked in his bedroom.

Lastly, a huge concern for us is that all animals should have free access to water and food at all times. We know for a fact Tongki has no containers containing fresh drinking water within his exhibit, and the majority of the time, the hatch leading to his outdoor area is kept shut. Without easy access to fresh clean drinking water, Tongki is forced to drink from his pool, which is highly likely to be contaminated with faecal matter and urine and has been ignored. We ask why this is? Especially as Samsung make huge profits yearly surely sources of fresh drinking water should be a basic right for captive animals?  We would like to see this rectified with immediate effect.

For more information and images of Tongki and his enclosure please visit: v=ZSE3k7eWscw&

Kind Regards,

Saving the Angels of the Seas

Written by Laura and Adi. from Saving the Angels of the Seas.

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