Happy 25th birthday, Inuka!
Singapore's very own polar bear, Inuka, turns 25
The first polar bear born in the tropics celebrated its 25th birthday at the Singapore Zoo's Frozen Tundra exhibit yesterday.
Inuka, the locally-born polar bear, was treated to a huge "cake" made up of coloured ice blocks and fruits.
The 10-day celebration was kicked off with the launch of a photo exhibition by the Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore, Ms Berit Basse.
It aims to raise awareness of the threats that polar bears and the Arctic ecosystems face due to climate change.
Titled "Our Arctic Future", the exhibition developed by the Natural History Museum of Denmark also commemorates 50 years of bilateral ties between Singapore and Denmark.
It will be up until Jan 16.
Inuka is the star attraction of the Singapore Zoo's Frozen Tundra exhibit, which opened in 2013.
Its diet comprises of fish, red meat, fruits and vegetables. It likes watermelon and it exercises with enrichment toys such as food encased in ice and a large ball.
Media company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has supported Inuka's upkeep since its birth on Dec 26, 1990.
SPH Foundation, the charity arm of SPH, took over in 2007.
The money sponsored goes towards Inuka's care and upkeep.
In the wild, polar bears live an average of 15 to 18 years while the normal life span of polar bears in captivity is 25 years.
Inuka's mother, Sheba, which arrived in 1978 from Cologne Zoo in Germany, died in November 2012 when it was 35 years old.
Mr Alan Chan, CEO of SPH and a director of SPH Foundation, said: "We wish Inuka a happy birthday and hope he can bring joy to many for years to come.
"We are happy to see him grow both in size and popularity over the years.
"Through our close partnership with Wildlife Reserves Singapore, we will continue to promote community awareness and responsibility in wildlife protection and conservation, which is one of SPH Foundation's core objectives."
5 FACTS ABOUT POLAR BEARS
1 The status of polar bears in the world is "vulnerable", meaning they are considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
2 There are about 20,000 to 25,000 polar bears today, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They can be found in 19 sub-populations across the Arctic.
Sixty to 80 per cent of the polar bear population can be found in Canada.
3 Polar bears depend on frozen ocean water, also known as sea ice, for a platform to rest, breed and hunt for seals to eat.
4 With sea ice disappearing due to climate change, polar bears face problems such as reduced access to food, lower cub survival rates and increased chanceof drowning.
Also, sea ice is important because it supports the food chain for seals, the primary prey of polar bears.
5 Other threats to polar bears' survival include increased oil exploration in the Arctic and illegal hunting.