Singapore bids farewell to its last and only locally born polar bear

Inuka has lived his whole life at Singapore Zoo More

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.

Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, enjoys an ice cake during its 25th birthday celebrations at the Singapore Zoo on December 16, 2015.

"We have jointly made the hard but necessary decision to not revive Inuka from anaesthesia on humane grounds", BBC quoted the zoo authorities as saying.

The zoo will put up a tribute wall at Inuka's enclosure from Thursday for visitors to pen their tributes to the bear, who is the first polar bear born in the tropics and one of the top attractions at the zoo. Wildlife Reserves Singapore performed health check this morning and chose to euthanise Inuka for humane and welfare reasons.

But in recent years the animal had suffered age-related ailments, including arthritis, and an examination at the start of this month revealed his health was failing markedly.

His weakening limbs could not support his 500+kg weight and led to him dragging his feet. He also had a wound on his lower abdomen, likely caused by urine-burns from incontinence and recurring urinary tract infections. These wounds, which were quite deep, would have caused pain and discomfort to Inuka, and would only be aggravated as his arthritis worsened.

"So we made the only right call that we can make under the situation", he added.

"Singaporeans have known Inuka from the time he was a cub, and have seen him growing up and ageing", said zookeeper Mohan Ponichamy. SPH Foundation, the charity arm of SPH, took over the adoption of the bear from 2007. If you recall, the zoo stated in 2006 it would no longer be bringing in polar bears to Singapore. In human years, Inuka was in his 70s.

Some left cards and messages wishing for a speedy recovery. His father Nanook was caught in the wildand came from Canada and his mother, Sheeba, came from a German zoo. Anana, a female polar bear, died in 1999.

The zoo has said it will not keep any more polar bears.

His name, meaning "foreboding strength" in Inuit, was chosen by a public contest, and at the age of three Inuka "was chosen as one of the city's icons by its main broadsheet, the Straits Times, alongside the Singapore Sling cocktail", Reuters reports.

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