Photo exhibition marks Inuka's 25th birthday

Singapore-born Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, with its birthday "cake" - made of ice blocks, whipped cream and fruit - yesterday. Polar bears in captivity live an average of 25 years, although with proper care, they can live much lo
Singapore-born Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, with its birthday "cake" - made of ice blocks, whipped cream and fruit - yesterday. Polar bears in captivity live an average of 25 years, although with proper care, they can live much longer. Inuka's mother Sheba, for example, died at 35.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

The Singapore Zoo's polar bear Inuka turns 25 on Dec 26, and to kick off a 10-day celebration, a photo exhibition about polar bears' arctic habitat was launched yesterday.

The exhibition, called Our Arctic Future, highlights the threat that climate change poses to arctic ecosystems and to polar bears.

It was developed by the Natural History Museum of Denmark and governments of Greenland and Faroe Islands for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Danish Ambassador to Singapore Berit Basse opened the exhibition, in the zoo's Frozen Tundra zone, where Inuka lives.

At the launch, the Singapore-born Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, was given a birthday "cake" made of ice blocks, whipped cream and fruit.

Polar bears in captivity, like Inuka, live an average of 25 years.

But with proper care, captive polar bears can live much longer. Inuka's mother Sheba, for example, died in 2013 at the age of 35.

Inuka's last health check in July found age-related conditions such as arthritis and dental issues which the zoo's veterinary team is monitoring closely.

Inuka now weighs 581kg and measures 2.5m from nose to tail.

Mr Mike Barclay, chief executive officer (CEO ) of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "As Inuka, Singapore's very own locally born-and-bred polar bear, turns 25, he is officially in his golden years and we will adjust his care to ensure he continues to enjoy a great quality of life with us here in the Singapore Zoo."

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) supported Inuka's upkeep from its birth until 2007, when the SPH Foundation, the charity arm of SPH, took over.

Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH and director of the SPH Foundation, said: "We wish Inuka a happy birthday and hope he can bring joy to many for years to come.

"Through our close partnership with Wildlife Reserves Singapore, we will continue to promote community awareness and responsibility in wildlife protection and conservation, which is one of SPH Foundation's core objectives."

Over the next 10 days, zoo visitors can catch Inuka enjoying birthday treats at 1.20pm daily.

The photo exhibition is on until Jan 16 next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'Photo exhibition marks Inuka's 25th birthday'. Print Edition | Subscribe