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Arturo, World's Saddest Polar Bear, Dies After Decades In Captivity

"[He's] not the only animal in captivity and in poor condition."

05/07/2016 7:10 PM AEST | Updated 05/07/2016 7:10 PM AEST
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Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Arturo seen in his enclosure at the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina.

Arturo, a 31-year old polar bear held in captivity for more than two decades, has died in Argentina.

He first made headlines as the “world’s saddest bear” two years ago, when more than a million petitioners urged Mendoza Zoo to move Argentina's last polar bear to a facility in Canada. The zoo's former director declined to do so, saying the animal was too old.

Arturo had lived in the zoo since the age of 8 before his death on Sunday due to what the officials called complications from old age, The Associated Press reports. While wild polar bears often die in their teens, those in captivity can live into their mid-30s.

Despite the animals hailing from regions north of the Arctic Circle, temperatures in Arturo's heavily concreted enclosure often soared higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and he was said to live in "deplorable conditions."

Animal rights groups marked Arturo's passing with some calls to end the existence of zoos in their current form.

Greenpeace Argentina released a statement saying Arturo's time in the zoo "prioritized the exhibition for commercial and recreational purposes over conservation and animal welfare."

"Remember that [Arturo] was not the only animal in captivity and in poor condition," Soledad Sede, a campaigner for the group, said.

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