Five-day celebration to feature birthday treats and enrichment activities,
including two tonnes of ice in Inuka’s den for the well-loved bear to explore
SINGAPORE, 22 December 2016 – Singapore Zoo’s senior polar bear Inuka will turn 26 on 26 December, and the Zoo has kicked off a series of celebratory activities for its much adored resident.
Fans of the polar bear wrote to Singapore Zoo as early as September, asking when the birthday party would take place. Singapore Zoo kicked off the celebrations on 22 December, with a gathering of over 50 park guests, staff and media. Inuka’s climate controlled den—usually set at 12-13 degrees Celsius—was filled with over two tonnes of crushed ice and enrichment toys for him. In addition, the ice provides a different substrate for Inuka to explore.
Inuka’s birthday cake this year is created with salmon and minced beef—some of his favourite foods. As an added treat, a delicate helping of peanut butter provides the ‘icing’ on the cake.
Born 26 December 1990, 26-year-old Inuka in human years would be in his 70s. He is currently on a special senior animal care programme. A team of dedicated keepers takes care of his daily needs, which include providing a nutritionally balanced but varied diet, and an enrichment programme to keep him mentally and physically occupied.
Part of Inuka’s healthcare regime includes regular health examinations by the Zoo’s veterinary team. Health checks in the last three years showed age-related conditions like arthritis and dental issues, which the Singapore Zoo veterinary team is closely monitoring. In addition, he also has dry eyes and an ear infection from time to time. The polar bear is currently on long-term glucosamine and anti-inflammatory treatment for his arthritis. The keepers closely monitor his weight and have also adjusted his diet to ensure that he is maintained as close as possible to an optimal weight of 520kg for his joints. Inuka currently measures 2.5m from nose to tail, and weighs 505kg.
During the five-day celebration, guests at Singapore Zoo can catch Inuka exploring his ice cave for treats, or enjoying a special birthday enrichment session each morning at 10.25am, from 22-26 December 2016.
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has supported Inuka’s upkeep since birth. SPH Foundation, the charity arm of SPH, took over the adoption from 2007.
– High-res images and video footage are available for download at https://wrscc.box.com/v/Inuka26
– All photos and the video are to be credited to Wildlife Reserves Singapore