Singapore Zoo to host 5 days of birthday celebrations as Inuka the polar bear turns 26

Inuka the polar bear enjoying a salmon for its 26th birthday.
Inuka the polar bear enjoying a salmon for its 26th birthday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Inuka the polar bear exploring the treats for its birthday.
Inuka the polar bear exploring the treats for its birthday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Inuka the polar bear celebrated its birthday on Dec 22 with a colourful ice cake created with some of its favourite foods - salmon, minced beef and peanut butter.
Inuka the polar bear celebrated its birthday on Dec 22 with a colourful ice cake created with some of its favourite foods - salmon, minced beef and peanut butter.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Over two tons of crushed ice and enrichment toys filled his climate controlled den, which is kept constantly cool at 12 deg C to 13 deg C.

Inuka was one happy polar bear as the Singapore Zoo kicked off five days of birthday celebrations for him on Thursday (Dec 22).

Born in 1990, he will be turning 26 next Monday. If he were human, he would be in his 70s.

"Fans of the polar bear wrote to the zoo as early as September, asking when the birthday party would take place," the Singapore Zoo said in a press release.

With over 50 Singapore Zoo staff and media present on Thursday, Inuka explored the specially fitted den.

And no, he did not get a Polar puff for his birthday cake. Instead, he was treated to a colourful ice cake created with some of his favourite foods - salmon, minced beef and peanut butter.

 

As he is old, Inuka is currently on a special senior animal care programme, with his daily needs taken care of by a team of dedicated keepers. These include providing nutritionally balanced but varied meals, and a mentally and physically enriching programme.

Inuka regularly undergoes health examinations by the zoo's veterinary team. They are closely monitoring his age-related conditions like arthritis and dental issues, which he developed in the last three years.

He has been receiving long-term glucosamine and anti-inflammatory treatment for his arthritis. Dry eyes and ear infections also bug him from time to time.

The white bear is 2.5m from nose to tail, and weighs 505kg. To keep him as close to the optimum 520kg as possible, his keepers closely monitor his weight and adjust his diet.

During the five-day celebration, zoo guests can catch Inuka exploring his ice cave, or enjoying a special birthday enrichment session at 10.25am daily.

SPH Foundation, the charity arm of Singapore Press Holdings, is supporting Inuka's upkeep.