Singapore Zoo Celebrates 16th Birthday of Polar Bear INUKA

Singapore, 26 December 2006 Singapore Zoo's beloved polar bear Inuka celebrated his 16th birthday today.

At the celebration, a special polar bear ice carving as well as a birthday cake made of ice and carrots were presented to Inuka. Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Foundation, a registered charity and an Institution of Public Character (IPC) has adopted Inuka for the year 2007. The polar bear was previously adopted by SPH for the last 16 years.

Representatives from SPH Foundation, as well as SPH Wildlife Buddies, SPH Conservation Ambassadors and the winners of the SPH Foundation Polar Bear conservation contest were present to wish Inuka “Happy Birthday”.

The birthday event marked the culmination of a series of conservation and educational activities the Zoo organised to raise awareness of the polar bear conservation effort this December holidays.

Apart from these educational activities, Singapore Zoo has also collaborated with National Geographic WILD to initiate an urgent conservation effort to save the Arctic. The public is invited to pledge their support for the preservation of polar bears and other Arctic animals.

From 6 December 2006 to 31 January 2007, visitors to the Singapore Zoo can also learn more about polar bears and the effects of global warming on the Artic from special educational displays and plasma screens set up by the National Geographic Wild.

Ms Fanny Lai, Executive Director of Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, said: “Recent scientific studies indicate a quantitative correlation between earlier sea ice melt and lowered polar bear survival in several areas. This confirmed that the bear population is declining. Also, pertinent studies have reported that the loss of sea ice due to global warming appears to be driving declines in body size and survival rate of polar bear cubs. That is significant because the bears use the sea ice as a platform for hunting and depend on it entirely for survival. “

“Nearly 20 percent of the Artic sea ice has been lost in the last 20 years. We need to take active steps to lead environmentally sustainable lifestyles everyday. So this Christmas, not all gifts need wrapping. Give a gift that can be experienced. Give a gift of life. Save the Earth. Save the polar bears.”

“Thus, we are grateful to SPH Foundation and to National Geographic WILD for their support towards raising awareness for polar bear conservation,” added Ms Lai.

Said Ms Ginney Lim, General Manager of SPH Foundation, “We are pleased to continue with the adoption of Inuka. Through the polar bears, many of us have learnt much about Arctic animals. The SPH Foundation will continue to work with the Singapore Zoo to devise meaningful programmes to inculcate community responsibility and wildlife conservation, which is one of the core objectives of the Foundation.”

Mr Basil Chua, Marketing Director of National Geographic Channel Asia (Singapore), said, “Singapore Zoo and National Geographic Wild share a common vision of promoting wildlife conservation. Unless we take action, wildlife will be something that we can only experience on television and in the zoo. Making a pledge to save the polar bears is the first step towards making people aware of the world around us and the difference we can make to preserve it.”

With Inuka’s 29-year-old mother Sheba now past the average 25-year lifespan for polar bears, the Zoo has plans, following her demise, to send Inuka to another zoological institution where he can contribute to the global captive breeding effort. In line with its Rainforest Zoo positioning, Singapore Zoo will be focusing more on species from the tropical rainforest and does not intend to bring in any more Arctic animals.

Due to pollution and a faster than average rate of climatic change in the Arctic, there has been a revision in the threatened status of the wild population of polar bears and the species has recently been reclassified as vulnerable.

SPH & SPH Foundation have been contributors to the Wildlife Conservation Singapore Fund since 1990. The Wildlife Conservation Singapore Fund was established by the Singapore Zoological Gardens and is an Institution of Public Character (IPC) and a registered charity. It funds research, conservation and education programs as well as the welfare and feeding of only endangered/threatened animals in Singapore Zoo and Night Safari.

About Singapore Zoo
Set in a rainforest environment, Singapore Zoo’s world famous “Open Concept” offers the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the wonders of nature. Home to over 3,000 specimens from 290 species, 21% of which are threatened, the Zoo has attained a strong reputation internationally for its conservation initiatives and breeding programmes. To better meet the healthcare needs of its animals and working towards its aspiration to become a leading global centre of excellence for veterinary healthcare and research, a purpose-built Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre was set up in March, 2006. In 2005, 1.3 million visitors enjoyed the experiential learning experience at the 28-hectares award-winning Zoo. Singapore Zoo is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

About the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation
The Singapore Press Holdings Foundation, a registered charity and an Institution of Public Character, was first set up as the Press Foundation of Singapore in January 2003 to help build a lifelong learning community that embraces language enrichment, creativity, diversity, healthy living and sports. The seed contribution of $20 million to the Foundation came from media group Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. It was renamed Singapore Press Holdings Foundation in May 2005. For more information, please visit the Foundation’s website at

About National Geographic WILD
Experience the best, most intimate encounters with wildlife ever seen on television. Backed by its unparallel reputation and blue-chip programming, National Geographic Wild brings viewers documentaries entirely focused on the animal kingdom and the worlds they inhabit. From the most remote environments, to the forbidding depths of our oceans, to the protected parks in our backyards, National Geographic Wild uses spectacular cinematography and spellbinding storytelling to take viewers on unforgettable journeys into the wild world. National Geographic Wild is part of National Geographic Channels International (NGCI). For more information, please visit

Issued on behalf of Wildlife Reserves Singapore
By: Citigate Dewe Rogerson , i.MAGE Pte Ltd
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Contact: Ms Betsy Tan, at telephone
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