No more polar bears at Singapore Zoo
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2006:
SINGAPORE–Singapore Zoo director Fanny Lai told Reuters on
September 7, 2006 that the zoo will no longer exhibit Arctic and
Antarctic animals after the eventual death of Sheba, 29, the elder
of the two polar bears on exhibit at the zoo.
Singapore is located just north of the equator.
Lai told Reuters that she has asked the Rostock Zoo in
Germany, manager of the global captive polar bear survival plan, to
find a more suitable home for Inuka, 16, who is to be moved after
Lai denied that the decision was prompted by the September 6
release of the findings of a four-month undercover investigation by
the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society.
“From September until December 2005,” said ACRES president
Louis Ng, “both bears exhibited signs of severe heat stress. The
bears were both seen panting for long periods (Inuka: 36.0% of the
time; Sheba: 38.7% of the time). Both bears engaged in abnormal
stereotypic behaviour (Inuka: 64.5% of the active periods; Sheba:
56.8% of the active periods). Both polar bears displayed inactivity
(Inuka: 42.5% of the time; Sheba: 64.6% of the time).
“The bears cannot simply ‘adapt’ to life in hot climates,”
Ng argued. “Wherever they are in captivity, they will still possess
physiological adaptations to life in the Arctic.”
ANIMAL PEOPLE spotlighted the bears’ plight in a July/August
2005 cover feature, based on a site visit, entitled “White tigers,
green polar bears, & maintaining a world-class zoo.”
Both of the Singapore Zoo polar bears, a mother and son,
are green from algae growing in their translucent hair shafts
Opened in June 1973, the Singapore Zoo and adjacent Night
Safari were the hugely successful evident models for the Chiang Mai
Zoo and the recently opened Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo in Thailand.