World's First 'Tropical Polar Bear' Euthanized

Singapore Zoo said 27-year-old Inuka had too many age-related ailments to live comfortably
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 25, 2018 9:20 AM CDT
In this Dec. 26, 2013, file photo, Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, eats his birthday cake in his enclosure at the Singapore Zoo in Sinagpore.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
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(Newser) – Inuka, the world's first polar bear born in the tropics, was euthanized Wednesday by the Singapore Zoo, officials say. The 27-year-old bear suffered from age-related ailments including arthritis, and his limbs became too weak to support his 1,100-pound-plus frame, per the AP. The zoo said this resulted in injuries to his abdomen and paws that didn't respond well to weeks of intensive treatment. A team of veterinarians and keepers decided not to revive the bear after he was anesthetized Wednesday for a thorough health check. "Looking at all the symptoms it is quite clear that from … Inuka's point of view, he would have been suffering quite a fair bit of discomfort and pain," says Cheng Wen-Haur, deputy chief executive of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, which runs most of the country's zoos.

"So we made the only right call that we can make under the situation," he adds. Male polar bears typically live for 15 to 18 years in the wild and about 25 years in captivity, the zoo says. Inuka was born in December 1990. In recent months, his health had been on a steady decline. Last week, the zoo said Inuka might be euthanized if a medical examination showed he was suffering. Visitors flocked to the zoo to catch a final glimpse of the bear. Some left cards and messages wishing for a speedy recovery. Inuka was Singapore's only remaining polar bear—and is likely to be its last. The zoo has said it won't keep any more polar bears.

(Read more polar bear stories.)

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