The images will leave you speechless. In Harbin, in North-Eastern China, a hotel built around an enclosure with two polar bears opened on Friday 12 March, reports the AFP. What's the idea? For these mammals to be seen continuously from the 21 or so rooms that open directly onto the enclosure—a completely artificial enclosure, that is, as the following video shows.
It is the first hotel of its kind, according to Reuters. The 'Polar Bear Hotel' is part of the Harbin Polarland theme park.
Many Internet users have been moved by the situation. One reported the strange movement of one of the captive bears.
Animal rights groups have expressed their anger. Anbarasi Boopal of Animal Concerns Research & Education Society (ACRES Singapore) told VICE:
It is shocking and heartbreaking to see such an enclosure, in this day and age, housing polar bears in such appalling environments simply for entertainment.
'Polar bears belong in the Arctic, not in zoos or aquariums—and certainly not in hotels,' Jason Baker, vice president of PETA Asia, told Reuters.
A fully booked hotel until May
Yang Liu, a spokesperson for the park, told the agency that the area visible to visitors is only one part of a larger area. Also, the bears 'are left outside when the temperature and air quality allow it.'
Until then, all 21 rooms are booked for the entire trial period, which runs until next May, VICE said, citing a park spokesman. Expect to pay between $290 and $350 per night (~£250).
Do remember that the polar bear is classified as 'Vulnerable' (i.e. threatened) on the IUCN Red List.