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Inuka, Singapore Zoo’s 27-year-old polar bear, in declining health and may be put to sleep



On 12th April 2018, the Singapore Zoo announced that Inuka, the first polar bear to be born in the tropics, is in declining health.

Photo credit: Channelnews Asia

Inuka, the last of his kind in Singapore, may be put to sleep at the end of April given his “markedly declining health”, said the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) on 12th April 2018.

WRS said, “His keepers are closely monitoring his welfare, and his quality of life assessment is under constant review.”

Adopted by SPH Foundation, the charity arm of Singapore Press Holdings, Inuka is scheduled to undergo a second health examination in late April.

If results indicate that Inuka is not improving with intensive treatments, his care team may have to make the “very difficult decision to not allow him to recover from anesthesia on humane and welfare grounds”.

In the past three months, the polar bear’s activity levels have “dipped noticeably”, preferring to rest instead of participating in daily interaction sessions with his keepers.

“The water-loving bear has reduced his swimming sessions significantly, and appears to be less interested in his daily enrichment activity involving a variety of devices such as traffic cones, boomer balls and ice blocks embedded with his favourite food,” added WRS.

While his arthritis, dental issues and occasional ear infections are already being managed, Inuka now has a stiffer gait – particularly noticeable in his hind limbs – which has resulted in abrasions on his paw pads. His age-related general muscle atrophy is also “clearly evident”.

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Apart from long-term glucosamine and anti-inflammatory treatment for his arthritis, veterinarians have boosted his daily care regime to include intensive treatment for his feet, and started him on specific painkillers and antibiotics to further alleviate his symptoms.

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Daily scheduled interaction sessions with Inuka have been suspended to allow him to “enjoy his time as he pleases”.

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Born in 1990 at the Singapore Zoo in the early hours of Dec 26, Inuka would be in its 70s if it were human. Inuka is the first and only polar bear born in the tropics. At 27 years old, Inuka has surpassed the 25 year average lifespan of polar bears under human care and is among the two per cent of the total zoo populations to be placed under a special senior animal care programme.

Polar bears live an average of 25 years under human care, while male polar bears in the wild have a life expectancy of 15 to 18 years.

Inuka, which means “silent stalker” in the Inuit language, is also one of four polar bears to have resided at the zoo to date, including his parents Nanook and Sheba, as well as Anana, a female polar bear caught in the wild.

His father Nanook and mother Sheba arrived at the zoo in 1978 from Winnipeg Zoo in Canada and Cologne Zoo in Germany, respectively.

Nanook passed away in 1995 at the age of 18 while Sheba died in 2012 when she was 35. Anana arrived from Canada in 1979 and died in 1999.

The zoo had previously announced that polar bears will no longer be part of its exhibits, following discussions with its Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee in 2006.

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“This is in line with the Zoo’s stronger focus on featuring tropical wildlife and threatened South-east Asian species in need of ex-situ management programmes.”

This means that Inuka is Singapore’s last polar bear, in light of the zoo’s announcement in 2006 that it would no longer bring any more polar bears to an equatorial climate following discussions with its Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee.

Watch this video to see how Inuka celebrated its birthday last year! 

Polytechnic lecturer Anita Ryanto has gone to the Singapore Zoo almost every month for the past five years, to paint watercolour illustrations of the zoo’s iconic polar bear, Inuka. “I read in the news in my office that he was very sick and was really sad, so I decided that I must come and sketch him today,” said the 47-year-old lecturer with Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of InfoComm Technology.
“I’m sad that he’s getting old, he has a lot of character, and is playful and lovable,” said Ms Ryanto.

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Also there to sketch Inuka was Ms Ryanto’s colleague, Mr Philip Garcia, who has been drawing animals at the Singapore Zoo for the past seven years.

“I got the email about Inuka’s condition today, and figured I should come since his days are numbered,” said Mr Garcia, 61.


“I will definitely be coming as often as I can now to sketch him,” added Ms Ryanto, who hopes to release a tribute book for Inuka filled with her sketches.

“I’ve always felt an emotional connection with that bear.”
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Singapore’s first and only Hello Kitty themed cafe to shut down in 2019



All good things come to an end — and so it shall be with Hello Kitty. Not the actual character of course, but the themed cafe inspired by the iconic feline character at Changi Airport Terminal 3. Earlier today, the 24-hour eatery announced in a Facebook post that they will officially shut its doors for good on February 8, 2019.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

This piece of news came as a shock to Hello Kitty’s throng of diehard fans, who queued up for hours on the cafe’s opening day in May 2016 just to snap selfies with the beloved character. No statement has been issued as to why Hello Kitty Orchard Garden would be closing down, but according to operator Europa Specialty Restaurant, an end of licensing and partnership with Sanrio is the reason for closure.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

To mark its departure, the cafe will be throwing tea parties over two weekends in December. It’ll be all fun and games, and don’t forget to savour their feline-shaped waffles and smoked salmon quiche for one last time.

Photo Credit: Hello Kitty Cafe Singapore / Facebook

However, be prepared to spend. A ticket for two sells at $138, and it comes with food and drinks, limited edition Orchids For You figurines and exclusive thank-you cards autographed by Hello Kitty herself.

Guess goodbye really comes at a cost. Buy your tickets here.
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Popular influencer NasDaily releases video celebrating Singapore



After making a surprise announcement that he was coming to Singapore to film a video, popular travel vlogger NasDaily releases a one miniature long video celebrating all the things we take for granted as citizens of the little red dot.

Nas is famously known for his daily one minute videos which he uploads on his Facebook page, NasDaily. The influencer is known for travelling all over the world and learning about cultures and practices and then making videos about them to educate his viewers.

On Tuesday (21 Aug), Nas put out a post on Facebook announcing that he was visiting Singapore on 22 August and asked fans to gather outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium to be part of his video.

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On the day, over 700 people turned up to be part of this experience.

The video, which was released on 23 August, is entitled “Why I Hate Singapore” and it basically celebrates Singapore’s ethnic diversity as well as many things that Singaporeans take for granted such as the food and the fact that we have drinkable and clean water running from our taps.

While the video acknowledged problems Singaporeans face such as inequality and the high cost of living, it did so in a way that glossed over the problems and encouraged people to appreciate what we have.

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At the event meet up itself, which was changed from outside the Esplanade to the Singapore Sports Hub, which agreed to help the star to shoot his video without break-in any anti-gathering laws, participants got to enjoy Nas’s highly energetic self.

The vlogger talked with fans and gave them a glimpse into what producing his videos took.

Despite the crowd, fans were thrilled to be part of this journey with Nas.
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Shoes collection at Vivocity to help Soles4Souls fight global poverty



Photo credit: Soles4Souls PR

One person’s unwanted shoes can help provide meaningful opportunities that many in developing nations need, which is why VivoCity, the largest retail and lifestyle destination in Singapore has launched a shoe drive to collect 25,000 pairs of new or gently-worn shoes.

The shoes will be delivered to a non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls, that creates sustainable jobs and provides relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Founded in 2006, the organization has distributed more than 30 million pairs of new and gently-worn shoes in 127 countries.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 767 million people live on less than $1.90 per day. Many people living in extreme poverty simply do not have access to stable employment.

Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise programmes offer a long-term solution to poverty through job creation in places like Haiti, Honduras, and Sierra Leone. They also give a second life to unwanted shoes, keeping them out of landfills, and protecting the environment.

“VivoCity is pleased to support Soles4Souls’ mission,” said Ms Gwen Au, Vice President for Marketing Communications, Mapletree Commercial Property Management. “To know that we can create meaningful impact around the globe by simply collecting and donating what is otherwise destined for the trash is a really great feeling.”

The shoes are sold for an average of $1 per pair to non-profit partners in developing countries, that provide business training to local entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs purchase the shoes and are then able to start businesses of their own selling the product in their local marketplaces. This allows entrepreneurs the opportunity to earn a sustainable income, and ultimately purchase necessities like food, shelter and education.

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The income generated by selling just one pair of shoes in Haiti can provide five meals for a family in need, whereas 30 pairs sold by an entrepreneur in Honduras can provide up to a year of schooling for a child. Revenue generated by Soles4Souls’ micro-enterprise operations funds the organization’s free distribution programs, that provide new shoes to people in need both in the U.S. and around the world.

“Millions of pairs of shoes lay idle in people’s closets,” said Au. “We would like to encourage Singaporeans to give those to Soles4Souls instead, and know that they are taking a step to help disrupt the cycle of poverty around the globe.”

VivoCity’s shoe drive for Soles4Souls information:

  • Now through August 12th, 2018, bring your new or gently-worn shoes of any kind to VivoCity and drop off your donations at:
  • 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585, official collection points located at Basements 1 & 2
  • Participating stores where donors can enjoy exclusive offers upon donating the shoes in-store.

Photo credit: Soles4Souls PR

About Soles4Souls

Soles4Souls disrupts the cycle of poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization repurposes product to supply its micro-enterprise, disaster relief and direct assistance programs. Since 2006, it has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries and generated over $250 million in economic impact. A non-profit social enterprise, Soles4Souls earns more than half of its income and commits 100% of donations to programs. Visit for more information.

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About VivoCity

With over 1 million square feet of lettable floor space attracting a diverse mix of over 300 retailers, large event places, including an outdoor amphitheatre, a 20,000-square-feet open plaza and a 300 metre long waterfront Promenade, VivoCity is Singapore’s largest and most diverse retail and lifestyle destination designed by world-renowned architect, Toyo Ito. VivoCity is a Mapletree Commercial Trust property.

About Mapletree Commercial Trust

MCT is a Singapore-focused REIT that invests on a long-term basis, directly or indirectly, in a diversified portfolio of income-producing real estate used primarily for office and/or retail purposes, whether wholly or partially, as well as real estate related assets. MCT’s portfolio comprises of VivoCity, Mapletree Business City I, PSA Building, Mapletree Anson, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch HarbourFront. These five assets have a total Net Lettable Area (“NLA”) of 3.8 million square feet valued at $6.337 billion as of March 31, 2017.
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