Don't love Inuka to death

I do not doubt the Singapore Zoo's love for Inuka and its concern over its failing health, but it seems as though the zoo has decided that putting the polar bear to sleep is an acceptable option (Zoo regulars pay visit to ailing polar bear; April 13).

The zoo is clearly preparing us for that end by furnishing details of Inuka's various ailments, its declining physical activity and the estimated lifespan of captive polar bears.

Inuka, however, is not dying; it is merely growing old.

It does not have any acute life-threatening medical issues like aggressive cancer or major organ failure and, given its age, its ailments are par for the course.

Experiencing ageing and its attendant aches and illnesses are not reasons enough to prematurely hasten death.

As it stands, Inuka is receiving excellent veterinary treatment and attention from its keepers.

We are blinded by our affection for Inuka and, in our haste to alleviate its discomfort, we race ahead in the decision-making process straight to the euthanasia stage, when we should linger in the healing and palliative stages a little while more.

Let Inuka live for as long as it wishes. When it has given up that will to live, it will let the people closest to it - its long-term primary caregivers and the veterinary team - know soon enough.

Josephine Lew Wei Ling

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 22, 2018, with the headline 'Don't love Inuka to death '. Print Edition | Subscribe