"I have seen polar bears in the wild and I've been visiting zoos all my life," Barry MacKay, senior program associate at Born Free USA, told The Dodo shortly after Arturo's death. MacKay was part of the movement in 2014 that tried to have Arturo relocated to a zoo in Canada, where the climate would be more appropriate for him.
"I try very hard not to be dogmatic, not to condemn out of hand or condone out of hand. And there are some species of animals who can, with proper care, be housed in zoos far from where they naturally range," MacKay said. "But when we get into the larger animals, the charismatic megafauna, we start getting into the issue of whether or not you can provide a good environment for them. A polar bear is in that group."
MacKay pointed out that polar bears have evolved to live a very particular kind of life. "Every part of a polar bear's body is designed for snow, for ice, for predatory habits and roaming huge distances," MacKay said.