Yupi is a female polar bear who was brought to Morelia Zoo in Mexico in 1992 at just a few months old. She came from the wilds of Alaska as an orphaned cub after her mother was killed.
When Yupi arrived at Morelia Zoo, she was placed in a former grizzly bear pen. She still lives in this same enclosure today, which is very small and barren, the surface is made entirely of concrete with no soft surfaces to walk on or lie in. Additionally, Yupi is held in a small holding pen for approx. 17 hours every day, this pen is tiny with no natural daylight. Yupi’s daily regime is routine and predictable, with little to no environmental enrichment or stimulation. Polar bears require large spaces and a complex natural terrain, giving them choice and control over their daily lives.
Morelia Zoo is located in the central part of Mexico, which means that Yupi is exposed to a tropical climate, with temperatures remaining high throughout the year, dramatically different to the cold climate of Alasaka. Polar bears are not physically adapted to live in hot climates. Under their thick fur their skin is black, facilitating the retention of heat from the sun; therefore polar bears can easily become overheated, particularly in alien, hot climates.
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The exhibit is approximately 110 square metres, and the concrete floor is flat, smooth and featureless. The exhibit includes two wooden stumps, embedded in concrete and a single dead tree, encased in gunite (spray-on concrete), with electric wires above it. The pool is fresh water and unrefrigerated. There are no objects or furnishings in the enclosure for Yupi to manipulate or use. There are no structures in the exhibit to provide shade, other than the side walls, and an alcove at the back of the exhibit that leads to the holding area.
The holding area (off-exhibit) includes two separate cages, each approximately 15 square metres in size. The floor in the holding area is concrete and no bedding is provided for Yupi. There is no natural light in the holding area, nor is it air-conditioned or well ventilated.
Yupi is only in her exhibit when the zoo is open, and spends the majority of her time, from about 5pm each day until 9am the next morning, in the holding area. She is fed a commercially prepared diet, supplemented with chicken and fish.