SINGAPORE: Singapore's last polar bear, Inuka, has been put down on “humane grounds” after a second health examination in three weeks found that its health had not improved despite intensive treatments.
The 27-year-old polar bear was put into “deep sleep” under anaesthesia at around 7am on Wednesday (Apr 25) and was not revived, said Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, deputy CEO and Chief Life Sciences Officer of Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).
Any form of treatment would have caused him more stress and prolonged his suffering, Dr Cheng added.
“Today’s medical examination revealed that the open wounds on his paws and abdomen had not significantly improved despite additional treatment over the last three weeks. These wounds, which were quite deep, would have caused pain and discomfort to Inuka, and would only be aggravated as his arthritis worsened,” WRS said in a statement.
“The vets had hoped that the treatment instituted since the last checkup would have resulted in more improvement, and as it was not the case, it was clear that Inuka’s health and welfare state was compromised and the responsible course of action was not to prolong Inuka’s suffering,” WRS added.
KEEPERS ENSURED INUKA WAS COMFORTABLE
Mr Mohan Ponichamy, deputy head keeper and one of Inuka's primary caregivers, said the keepers spent the entire night with Inuka, ensuring it was comfortable.
"In preparation of anaesthesia, he needed to be isolated. We spent almost the entire day with him (to) make sure he was calm. We hand-fed him with water. He was responsive and could still follow signals," Mr Mohan said.
"From his point of view, he was in deep sleep, surrounded by all his keepers who care deeply about him. Having been born and lived in Singapore for the past 27 years where a whole generation of Singaporeans have grown up with him, we bade him farewell. It is a very sad moment for us ... but I think we have done the right thing by him and he is no longer suffering," Dr Cheng added.