Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, was put down Wednesday after a rapid decline in health, with Singapore Zoo mourning the loss of one of its best-loved animals.
The bear, whose name means “Silent Stalker” in Inuit, had reached the grand old age of 27 — into his 70s in human years and two years older than the average lifespan of the creatures in captivity.
Born at the zoo, Inuka was particularly popular with visitors due to his playful antics in his enclosure.
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.
After a final check-up, vets found that Inuka’s health had not improved despite intensive treatment and decided not to revive him from anesthesia.
As few as 22,000 polar bears are thought to remain in the wild, according to environmental group WWF. Protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies them as a vulnerable species. (AFP)