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Singapore’s “Polar Bear” Inuka is immortalized in a children’s book on his 28th birthday

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Inuka’s memory still lives on in the hearts of Singaporeans especially to children as he is remembered on his 28th birthday in a picture book titled “The One and Only Inuka” written by Alan John and illustrated by Quek Hong Shin.

Photo: Facebook/Ong Ye Kung

Inuka is one of well-loved mascots of the Singapore Zoo. He is regarded as one of Singapore’s national icons. The name Inuka is Inuit for “Silent Stalker”. Born on Dec 26, 1990, Inuka is the offspring of polar bears Mother Sheba from Germany, and Nanook from Canada. He became the first polar bear to be born in the tropics.

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Photo: Screengrab from YouTube

Because of the arthritis that weakened his legs when he was still alive, he was not able to support his 500 kg weight. He was also suffering from dental problems and occasional ear infection that worsen his health as months passed by. Also, the wounds on his paws and abdomen were not responding to treatments. This made the Wildlife Reserves Singapore(WRS), the self-funded organization managing Singapore Zoo, decided not to revive Inuka from anesthesia on “human and welfare grounds”.

Inuka died on April 25, 2018. Thousands of people mourned the death of the beloved “sun bear” as he has been part of the growing years of many Singaporeans. During the memorial ceremony, lead zookeeper Mohan Ponichamy aired out his sadness:

“For the past 27 years he has not just brought smiles to our keepers, Singapore zoo staff but also brought lots of smiles to the millions of our park visitors from all over the world, and especially Singaporeans.”

The average life expectancy of polar bears is typically 15 to 18 years in the wild and 25 years under human care. But Inuka surpassed this. In human age, he would be in his 70s.

Photos: Screengrab from YouTube

Touching the lives of many people through his amusing behavior inside Singapore Zoo, the book immortalizes Inuka who will always be the “young at heart”, as described by WRS.

Children and adults alike will fall in love more with Inuka as they turn every page that chronicles the his life, from his younger years to the day he died. The book also highlights favorites cakes of Inuka every time he celebrates his birthday for the past 27 years as he was “fussy” about food at times. These include the agar-agar cake, ice-kachang cake, and cakes with salmon, minced beef, and even peanut butter.

Photos: Screengrab from YouTube

The veteran journalist John Ong is one of the many great fans enamored by Inuka that he was able to capture life moments of the bear. With his book, he has this to say to readers:

“I was sad when Inuka died this year, even though he was pretty old in polar bear years. Hong Shin and I hope that this book will help all of us who knew Inuka over nearly three decades, to remember the best of this tropical polar bear who loved a crowd and made a big impression on all who visited him”.

With the book’s launching, people can buy “The One and Only Inuka” in Singapore Zoo retail stores and all leading bookstores.

 

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