Inuka’s skeletal remains to be preserved

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The skeletal remains of Singapore's last polar bear Inuka, which who was put down on April 25 due to its ailing health, will be preserved.

In response to queries, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said yesterday that the remains of the 27-year-old animal will be used for educational purposes.

Inuka, who would have been well into its 70s in human years, had been suffering from age-related ailments such as arthritis, dental issues and occasional ear infections for the past five years.

A medical examination on April 3 had revealed a significant decline in its health.

The Singapore Zoo said it made the decision to put Inuka to sleep on humane and welfare grounds, after a second medical check on April 25 showed that there was little improvement in its health.

Yesterday, WRS said it has completed a full autopsy on the polar bear and that the findings affirm the prognosis from veterinarians prior to Inuka's death.

"Inuka bore irreversible age-related ailments, including arthritis and ailing limbs, which resulted in a stiffer gait," WRS said.

"This, in turn, caused ulcerations on his pads that led to deeper infection between his toes."

Inuka was the only polar bear to be born in Singapore. The zoo said in 2006 that it would not bring any more polar bears to the country.

When news of its declining health broke, hundreds turned up at the zoo to leave cards and letters at his enclosure.

A private tribute ceremony was held on April 26 at the zoo's Frozen Tundra exhibit, where more than 400 zoo staff and guests paid their last respects.