Inuka, the world's only 'tropical polar bear', dies in Singapore

Inuka was kept in a climate-controlled enclosure More

Singapore's beloved and last remaining polar bear Inuka has finally left the world peacefully.

"The vets had hoped that the treatment instituted since the last checkup would have resulted in more improvement, and as it was not the case, it was clear that Inuka's health and welfare state was compromised and the responsible course of action was not to prolong Inuka's suffering", it added.

He said in an April 25 statement: "Our decision to let Inuka go was made with the knowledge that his health issues have seriously impacted his welfare".

Inuka, a 27-year-old animal who grappled with challenges ranging from arthritis to dental problems and ear infections, carried until his last days a green tinge in his fur blamed on algae growth.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur (centre), chief life sciences officer and deputy CEO of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, examining Inuka's lower abdomen.

"As much as we would like to keep Inuka with us for as long as possible, our ultimate responsibility is his welfare. Beyond the point where we can ensure a good quality of life for Inuka, the greater kindness would be to relieve him from prolonged suffering". A health check on April 3 showed that his health was declining even further. In recent months, his health had been on a steady decline. WRS also said that his body parts may be preserved for educational purposes.

A team of veterinarians and keepers decided not to revive the bear after it was anesthetized Wednesday for a thorough health check. He had reached the grand old age of 27 or 70 in human years.

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Despite spending his life in a distinctly non-polar climate, Inuka lived two years longer than the average lifespan of a polar bear in captivity and around ten years longer than a bear in the wild. In human years, it would have been akin to a man in his 70s.

In one of the photos, Inuka's family of caregivers appeared sombre as they gathered around to watch Inuka receive the final injection that was administered by Dr Abraham Mathew, the assistant director of veterinary services.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has supported Inuka since his birth.

"We will miss our Inuka dearly and it will take some time to get used to not seeing him readily waiting to greet us every morning".

Inuka, whose mother lived to the age of 35, "had been on a "seniors programme" at the zoo for the past five years, to help elderly animals deal with the effects of ageing", the South China Morning Post reports.

The post has received over 4,100 reactions, 2,600 shares and 300 comments at the time of writing. Anana, a female polar bear, died in 1999.

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