Location: Tokushima Zoo, Japan
Address: Nyudo-22-1 Shibunocho, Tokushima, 771-4267, Japan
Telephone: +81 (0)88 636 3215
Pororo (female). Born 8 December 2012 in Sapporo Maruyama Zoo, Japan. Arrived at Tokushima from Sapporo 3 March 2014.
Tokushima Zoo was opened in 1998. Conditions in this facility do not seem to have materially changed since the negative report published in 2007 by the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRE). Accordingly we summarise the report below.
Date of visit: Acres inspection 1 August 2006.
The polar bear enclosure failed to meet the minimum design requirements of the Manitoba (Canada) Standard and the zoo did not appear to satisfy the Standard’s basic husbandry requirements.
The open-air enclosure was sited at visitor level with only a small area of dry land, with walls on three sides with two having viewing windows. In total there were six large viewing windows and six small circular windows. Visitors could get very close to the bears and potentially bang on the windows.
The enclosure was around 75 square metres in area (810 square feet). On the side of the enclosure opposite the viewing windows, the bears could see out through electric fencing onto an area of trees.
The floor was fully concreted with no soft substrates. There was shelter from rain or shade from sun and almost all of the enclosure was in full, glaring sun.
No furniture was provided on land. The pool was approximately 25 square metres (270 square feet) in area and around 1.5 metres (five feet) deep. Objects for play and manipulation at the time of inspection consisted of a single large buoy which the bears were not observed to play with. Some parts of the floor were not well drained due to its uneven surface, resulting in small pools of stagnant water containing brown algae. The water in the pool was green and the sides of the pool
showed considerable algal growth.
There were no private areas for the bears to escape from public view or from one another and no access to to off-exhibit areas throughout the day.
No feedings or provision of enrichment activities were observed.
2020: From video and visitor evidence the physical aspects of this small, outdated facility seem unchanged. The bears are given plastic toys to play with (see video below) but there is no evidence of any other forms of enrichment. Pororo shows clear signs of stereotypical behaviours.
Source: ACRE Japan Polar Bear Report (download here from our server) and additional research by Bear Conservation.
- It is believed there may be attempts to use the bears for breeding purposes
- Very poor facilities which are far too small with no shelter or off-exhibit areas access or soft substrates for digging.
- Total area available falls far short of the Manitoba Standard. Bear Conservation recommends a minimum of 8,000 square metres (2 acres) per animal.
- Very little enrichment provided
- Unsuitable climatic conditions in summer with serious risk of extreme heat exposure
- No apparent source of drinking water other than pool water.
- Pronounced stereotypical behaviour in at least one of the two bears, possibly in both.
We do not at present have reliable information on the feeding, exercise and medical and enrichment regimes.
Filmed in April 2018 the video below shows Pororo playing with a plastic toy in the enclosure pool.