Saying goodbye to Inuka

Many visitors to Singapore's Zoological Gardens have flocked to visit Inuka at his enclosure when news of his ailing health spread in the city state. For many, this is a sad news. Inuka has been the icon of the Singapore Zoo for 27 years. He is the first polar bear in the world to be born in the tropics. Most polar bear has an average life span of 10 years. "Recent physical examinations on Inuka revealed that he had been suffering from arthritis, dental issues and ear infections. Weakening limbs also hindered the aging bear's ability to walk" (BBC). It was a hard decision for the zoo to put him down in order to shorten his suffering.

Some friends of mine visited him for the past weeks just to see and sketch him, immortalising their memories of Inuka on their sketchbook. One of them was Anita Ryanto, a fellow urbansketcher and also a full time lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. She teaches watercolor painting in the institute. Her sketches of Inuka can be seen   Strait Times has also published about Anita and her colleagues who have went to draw and sketch Inuka while she was still alive. See the report here: Mediacorp Channel has a special report on Anita as

I managed to get a screen grab from the above video posted by Philip Garcia.

A page from Anita's sketchbook.

The painting right on top of the page is a watercolor painting I did on the day Inuka was put down. I got the image reference from the internet. It shows Inuka waving with him paws as if she knew she was leaving this earth. I wanted to portray him happy and not sick and weak, so I put a smile on his face.

Rest in peace Inuka. I hope you are in a better place and has a new coat of fur now. It saddened me all the time when I see you with the green algae on your fur and walking in pain. You have given many sweet memories to us all for the last 20 over years, from a baby to adulthood. Long live the memories.

 BBC's coverage on Inuka:
Singapore mourns Inuka, the world's only 'tropical polar bear'

Zaobao's coverage on Inuka.

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