The “world’s saddest polar bear” has been moved from his cramped cage in a Chinese shopping mall back to the ocean park he was born in.

Pizza the polar bear received an outpouring of support as pictures emerged this summer showing the squalid conditions he was kept in.

Sunday he was returned to the park he was born in in northern China, where his parents live.

A petition of one million signatures was handed in to Chinese authorities last month calling for him to be removed from the Grandview Shopping Mall.

The move has been said to be only temporary, while his enclosure is renovated, but campaigners hope it will become permanent for the sad looking bear.

Dr Peter Li, China Policy Expert at Humane Society International, told the Daily Mirror: “Pizza has endured a life of deprivation and suffering in his small, artificial glass-fronted room at the shopping mall, so the news that he’s getting out at last makes me very happy and relieved for him.

"At last he will feel the sun on his fur, sniff fresh air and see the sky above him in the company of his mum and dad."

After footage came out of the bear, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, offered to remove Pizza the polar bear from the Grandview Mall Aquarium, in Guangzhou.

The Yorkshire enclosure includes 10 acres of land and two lakes, but this offer was rejected by authorities who have said Pizza will never leave China.

Other animals enclosed in the shopping centre – dubbed the “world’s saddest zoo” by its critics – include another polar bear, six young belugas, five walrus calves and a wolf.

Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s animal welfare director, said previously: “The good news now for Grandview is that they now have the chance to put their mistake right."

Heartbreaking footage showing an exhausted polar bear smeared in what looks like it’s own faeces as he struggled to his feet in his enclosure, emerged earlier this summer.

The depressed beast was filmed by horrified tourists visiting the zoo in Serbia, haggard and barely able to stand.

This story first appeared in The Sun.