SINGAPORE - Inuka, the polar bear who was born and bred in Singapore, is celebrating his 25th birthday.
The bear will turn 25 on Dec 26, but for today (Dec 16), he got to enjoy a giant ice cake and a watermelon filled with fruit as part of the 10-day celebration.
Inuka received the treat from Dr S Vasoo, director of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation. Media company SPH has supported Inuka's upkeep since his birth on Dec 26, 1990. SPH Foundation, the charity arm of SPH, took over from 2007.
Wild polar bears have an average life span between 15 and 18 years, while captive polar bears can live an average of 25 years - but with proper care, they can live longer. Sheba, Inuka's mother, died at 35 years in 2013.
Inuka is now considered a senior bear and his last health check in July revealed that he had age-related conditions such as arthritis and dental issues.
Mr Mike Barclay, chief executive of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "As Inuka, Singapore's very own locally born and bred polar bear turns 25, he is officially in his golden years and we will adjust his care to ensure he continues to enjoy a great quality of life with us here in the Singapore Zoo."
A photo exhibition about the arctic habitat was also launched today in line with the festivities.
The exhibition, titled Our Arctic Future, highlights the threat climate change poses to the Arctic ecosystems and to polar bears. It was developed by the Natural History Museum of Denmark and the governments of Greenland and the Faroe Islands for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore, Berit Basse, officiated the launch of Inuka's birthday celebrations and the photo exhibition in the zoo's Frozen Tundra exhibit.