Friday, 21 December 2007

We are ALSO the world (Part 1)

The Polar Bears

On the last day of 2006, when I read in the papers that our very own polar bear, Inuka, will be leaving us for a zoo in Germany, I felt really sad. At that time, I had a lot of misgivings about the decision as I could not understand why we would want to give up our little precious, the only polar bear born in the tropics! In fact, I was even a bit angry with the animal welfare organisation, which lobby hard to get our bear to move... and that is so unlike me.

Inuka (meaning "Silent Stalker") less than a year old, with mother Sheba (from The Straits Times). Inuka was borned on 26 Dec 1990.

For almost 17 years, Inuka has been the pride of the Singapore Zoo. I remembered the polar bears were my favourite when I visited the zoo as a kid; the big white belly, the giantic paws and eyes and nose which are too small in proportion.... I was almost sure that they were smiling at me.

I went back to the zoo a few months ago, more than 10 years since my last visit, to bid Inuka farewell. Has Inuka grown too big? Or his enclosure shrunk? It looks like a place too small for him to feel comfortable. Though it was a cloudy day, I could still feel the intense heat and humidity of the tropical weather. I cannot imgaine how an animal meant to live in sub-zero climate can ever get used to this weather. What have we been doing to our bear?

Photo courtesy of Stanly on Multiply

Inuka looks brilliant in this picture. I love the way he splashes out of the water... so refreshing! But you should also notice the black patches on his skin, which are caused by absorbing heat from the tropic climate. It has also been reported that Inuka suffers from heat stress, is inactive half the time and developed abnormal behaviours.

When I compare Inuka to those white majestic creatures I saw on Discovery Channel, I realise that Inuka is in a pathetic state. It is obvious to me now that we are unable to provide Inuka with a home he deserves and moving him to a zoo in temperate zone is only in his best interest. An online poll of the Singapore zoo suggests that almost 65% of the participants did not want Inuka to leave. Why? Maybe it's time for them to pay a visit to the zoo and see for themselves how Inuka is suffering. So what if we have one less fuzzy creature to call our own, if Inuka will have a better life after he leaves us, we should gladly let him go.

While we may be able to save Inuka today, there is a bigger problem for the polar bears as a whole. Scientists believe that if the global warming trend continues, the north pole will have no snow in summer by 2040. When that happens, not only will the polar bears gradually become extinct, it will also pose a great threat to the human population from the flood resulting...

"Imagine the North Pole without snow, only barren land and vacant space remain. Imagine there is only one season in this world, when summer seems like eternity. And Venice becomes a myth in history, like the lost city of Atlantis. These, we may no longer have to imagine, when they become reality by 2040."

Be it the polar bears or our gentle mother nature, they are part of the world we live in. Men need to stop being selfish and start thinking about the other inhabitants of our planet and not just of ourselves, not about how to feel comfortable at the expense of our environment and the weaker species.

Our earth is sick! Let us all resolute to go green from 2008 and save the only planet we can call "home". If not, we can start counting down to the number of sunrise and sunset we will see... maybe not in this lifetime or the next, but eventually, our earth will go into complete destruction, and there will be no home, no trees, no polar bears, no children, no human beings...

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