Inuka, the world’s only “tropical” polar bear has died. Inuka was born at the Singapore Zoo and lived his entire life in an exhibit called the Frozen Tundra. The zoo reports that Inuka was humanely euthanized as a result of age-related illnesses including dental issues, ear infections, and arthritis. Inuka was the zoo’s fourth polar bear but the only one to be born in Singapore which is only one degree above the equator.
The son of Sheeba and Nanook, Inuka was born at the Singapore Zoo in 1990 and lived to 27 years old. To be clear, that is 27 years in captivity and of exploitation. While Inuka did live longer than most polar bears in the wild, what is to be said for his quality of life? He never saw the polar ice caps, never swam among other polar bears, and never saw the vast expanse of the Arctic. Instead, it was only camera flashes, screaming children, and boredom.
The video above shows the heartbreaking condition Inuka was in just weeks before his passing. Nothing about this footage looks natural and poor Inuka clearly looks stressed with no comfort besides a tire. The zoo has stated that Inuka would be the last polar bear to take residence at the zoo as a result of public outcry since the introduction of polar bears at the zoo in 1978. While this is great news, we can’t help but wonder why these animals are kept in captivity to begin with.
Climate change is causing the polar bear’s natural habitat to melt at record levels. Ice sheets are melting at a rate of 8.6 million acres per year, sea levels and precipitation has increased, and the polar bear’s main food source has become harder to find. This puts into perspective how absurd forcing a polar bear to live in a tropical environment really is. Polar bears need our help, not our hindrance.
Wild animals deserve to live free from exploitation. There are far more rewarding ways to experience the beauty and wonder of wild animals — click here to find out how.
Image Source: Carrie LeBlanc/Facebook