Inuka died surrounded by his keepers: Singapore Zoo releases photos of polar bear's last moments

Inuka was surrounded by his current and former caregivers.
Inuka was surrounded by his current and former caregivers.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Dr Cheng Wen-Haur (in green) examines Inuka’s lower abdomen on April 25, 2018.
Deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Dr Cheng Wen-Haur (in green) examines Inuka’s lower abdomen on April 25, 2018. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Inuka, well-beloved by Singaporeans and visitors alike, died on Wednesday (April 25) surrounded by keepers past and present who had cared for him.

Fresh photos released by the Singapore Zoo on Wednesday evening detail the 27-year-old polar bear's last moments, as well as his final health check.

One image shows Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Wildlife Reserves Singapore's deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer, examining Inuka's lower abdomen. Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, was surrounded by assistant director of veterinary services Abraham Mathew, deputy head keeper Mohan Ponichamy and one of his caregivers.

The medical examination revealed that the open wounds on his abdomen had not improved significantly even though he was given additional treatment over the past three weeks.

Another photo shows one of Inuka's caregivers saying her final farewell to the bear, with her hands over his paw.


One of Inuka's caregivers with her hands on his paw while saying a final goodbye. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

A third photo shows Inuka lying on his side, surrounded by caregivers both past and present, while Dr Mathew administered an injection to put him to sleep.

The zoo had decided to put him to sleep on humane and welfare grounds, as he was suffering.

Polar bears typically live 15 to 18 years in the wild and 25 years under human care. In human years, Inuka was in his 70s.