Singapore mourns Inuka

Singapore mourns the death of world’s first tropical polar bear, which was made to put down by wildlife authorities after a five-year battle with health difficulties stemming from old age.

Inuka, the 27-year-old animal was suffering from arthritis, dental problems and ear infections. After a final check-up, vets found that Inuka’s health had not improved despite intensive treatment and decided not to revive him from anaesthesia.

Inuka, or “foreboding strength” in Inuit, was born on Boxing Day in 1990 to parents Nanook and Sheba, who had arrived from Canada and Germany, respectively, in 1978. His father, Nanook, died in 1995 at 18 while Sheba died at the ripe old age of 35 in 2012. In the wild, the bears have an average life expectancy of 15 to 18 years.

His name was picked from among 390 suggested in a nationwide contest. Inuka will be the last polar bear in Singapore, the zoo operator has said.