Arctic Love – In Memory of Sheba (1978 – 2012)

November 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Posted in itchy fingers | Leave a comment
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After spending 35 long years in captivity, Polar Bear Sheba took her last breath on 15 November without having a chance to see the outside world. According to media reports, Sheba had been “struggling with loss of strength in her hind legs since September” and had since weakened. “Her condition became especially critical over the past week, as her keepers found it increasingly difficult to rouse her for feedings.” and so was “euthanized on humanitarian grounds”.

Sheba arrived at the Singapore Zoo on April 14, 1978, from Cologne Zoo, Germany, when she was just 14 month old. She was the first polar bear to successfully raise a cub in the tropics. Her hubby, Nanook, passed away in 1995. Together with her son, Inuka, Sheba was one of the star attraction of the zoo. I am sure many of us will remember rubbing the noses of mother and son, behind the thick glass enclosure, of course.

Few years back, the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES) proposed to the zoo to move Inuka to a temperate country zoo after Sheba passed on, citing the relatively small enclosure and high tropic temperate as conditions unfavorable for the arctic bears. Why only the son and not both mother and son? Cos at that time, Sheba was already quite advanced in age and may not be able to withstand the travelling and adapt to the new environment. This will give the relatively young male a chance to mate too. But eventually the decision was to keep the bears in Singapore, and to move them to a newer and bigger home at another upcoming park, the River Safari, next to the zoo.

The new park is scheduled to be opened somewhere next year. But unfortunately, Sheba couldn’t wait till that day.

Today Inuka is a 21-year-old adult polar bear, his size far exceeded that of his mother. In captivity, polar bear can lived up to 25 years old, and Sheba had lived much longer than that. What will happen to Inuka, now that he is the only polar bear left in captivity here?

Here, Itchyfingers remember Sheba….May she rest in peace…

Miniature Sheba and Inuka, made by Itchyfingers with love


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