Singapore Zoo celebrates Inuka's 26th birthday with icy treats

Salmon, beef, ice and toys - these are just some of the treats Singapore's most well-known polar bear will enjoy as it turns 26 this month.

Inuka, whose birthday falls on boxing day, is getting a five-day birthday bash with the help of keepers at the Singapore Zoo.

The celebration started on Thursday (December 22), when Inuka found his climate-controlled den filled with over two tons of crushed ice and enrichment toys.

Inuka also got a special salmon and minced beef cake iced with peanut butter this year.

Inuka celebrates 26th birthday with favourite treats

  • Singapore Zoo’s senior polar bear Inuka will turn 26 on 26 December. In human years, he would be in his 70s.
  • Singapore Zoo kicked off the celebrations on December 22, with a gathering of over 50 staff and media.
  • Inuka’s climate controlled den — usually set at 12-13 degrees Celsius — was filled with over two tons 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.

Guests at the zoo can catch Inuka exploring his ice cave for treats, or enjoying a special birthday enrichment session each morning at 10.25am, from December 22 to 26.

Born December 26 1990, the 505kg polar bear would be in his 70s in human years. He is currently on a special senior animal care programme, where a team of dedicated keepers takes care of his daily needs. There is even 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. As a result, the polar bear is currently on long-term glucosamine and anti-inflammatory treatment for his arthritis.

In addition, Inuka also has dry eyes and an ear infection from time to time.

ljessica@sph.com.sg