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No More Polar Bears for Tropical Singapore Zoo

Date: 08-Sep-06

Zoo director Fanny Lai told Reuters on Thursday that Inuka, a 16-year-old polar bear born in Singapore Zoo, will be moved to a zoo in a temperate climate and that Singapore has told the Rostock Zoo in Germany -- which keeps track of all captive polar bears in the world -- that Inuka is available for transfer.

She denied the planned move was in response to a local animal rights group's campaign "What's a Polar Bear Doing in The Tropics?", adding that the Singapore zoo had decided to focus on being a rainforest zoo.

"You can't keep an Arctic animal in an open-air enclosure in the tropics," Animal Concerns Research and Education Society president Louis Ng told Reuters. The zoo said the bears have an air-conditioned den and misting fans.

Inuka, the first polar bear born in the tropics, will only be moved after the death of his 29-year-old mother Sheba, who will not be moved because she is too old. Polar bears in captivity have an average life span of 25 years.

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