Polar bear Inuka's skeletal remains to be preserved for educational purposes: WRS

Inuka had been suffering from age-related ailments such as arthritis, dental issues and occasional ear infections for the past five years before he was put down on April 25, 2018.
Inuka had been suffering from age-related ailments such as arthritis, dental issues and occasional ear infections for the past five years before he was put down on April 25, 2018.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
 Inuka’s caregivers, past and present, gathering around the polar bear on April 25, 2018, as the final injection was administered to relieve him of suffering.
Inuka’s caregivers, past and present, gathering around the polar bear on April 25, 2018, as the final injection was administered to relieve him of suffering.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
A private tribute ceremony for Inuka, the first and only polar bear born in Singapore, was held at the Singapore Zoo on April 26, 2018.
A private tribute ceremony for Inuka, the first and only polar bear born in Singapore, was held at the Singapore Zoo on April 26, 2018.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - The skeletal remains of Singapore's last polar bear Inuka, who was put down on April 25 due to his ailing health, will be preserved.

In response to queries, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said on Monday (June 25) that the remains of the 27-year-old animal will be used for educational purposes.

Inuka, who would have been well into his 70s in human years, had been suffering from age-related ailments such as arthritis, dental issues and occasional ear infections for the past five years.

A medical examination on April 3 had revealed a significant decline in his health.

The Singapore Zoo said it made the decision to put Inuka to sleep on humane and welfare grounds, after a second medical check on April 25 showed that there was little improvement in his health.

On Monday, WRS said it has completed a full autopsy on the polar bear and that the findings affirm the prognosis from veterinarians prior to Inuka's death.

"Inuka bore irreversible age-related ailments, including arthritis and ailing limbs, which resulted in a stiffer gait," WRS said.

"This, in turn, caused ulcerations on his pads that led to deeper infection between his toes."

 
 
 

Inuka was the first and only polar bear to be born in Singapore. The zoo said in 2006 that it would not bring any more polar bears to the country.

When news of his declining health broke, hundreds turned up at the zoo to leave cards and letters at his enclosure.

A private tribute ceremony was held on April 26 at the zoo's Frozen Tundra exhibit, where more than 400 zoo staff and guests paid their last respects.

Inuka's parents - Nanook and Sheba - were brought to Singapore in 1978.

Inuka's father, Nanook, died in 1995 at the age of 18, while his mother, Sheba, died in 2012 at the age of 35. She was the second-oldest polar bear in the world then.

Sheba was put to sleep in 2012 after her health worsened and she could not eat. She had suffered from loss of strength in her hind limbs.

Her body was preserved by a taxidermist and a year later, the zoo began displaying it as an exhibit for educational talks for students.


Students looking at Sheba the polar bear, whose body was preserved after she died of old age and is now used as an exhibit for educational talks. PHOTO: ST FILE