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A local hardware retailer, Iuiga, has drawn flak from netizens for selling a line of porcelain teapots named after Inuka the polar bear, a beloved icon of the Singapore Zoo just a day after it was put to sleep on humane grounds.
Just a day after the 27-year-old bear was put down on Wednesday morning (April 25), Iuiga placed up a post of its line of Inuka teapots on its Facebook page, reports The Straits Times.
An accompanying caption read: "Ihonour of the joy and delight Inuka has brought us, we've decided to name our porcelain tea series after him.
"White, beautiful, and commanding a strong presence, the porcelain tea series will cement Inuka's legacy as the last Polar Bear in Singapore."
Many netizens were less than impressed by the post, calling it a tasteless and insensitive marketing ploy for retailers to profit off Inuka’s death.
A Facebook user, Alf Sohfi wrote: "It's a cheap and insensitive marketing gimmick.
“There are a thousand names that you can use. Otherwise, make sure you send all your sales proceeds to the Wildlife Reserves Singapore!"
Another user, Jack Lee said: "Why don't you sell Avicii teapot as well?"
The comment was made in reference to the late Swedish DJ Avicii who was found dead in Oman last Friday.
In response to the uproar, Iuiga has issued an apology on its Facebook page.
It said that all profits from its Inuka line of products would be donated to non-profit group Polar Bears International, an organisation based in the United States that is dedicated towards the conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research and education.
A poster addressing the costs that go into making each Inuka teapot suggests for the profit yielded from the sale of one to be $12.08.
The retailer clarified: "We heard you regarding our tribute to Inuka with our range of porcelain tea series.
"We understand that this is a sensitive issue, and Iuiga's goal was never to profit off animal welfare.”
It added: "However, the Iuiga team would like to sincerely apologise on the sensitive time period of the campaign launch, and for any upset the post has caused."
However, many netizens are still upset and some have called for the retailer to scrap the line entirely.