Moscow vets remove box from tongue of diving polar bear in dumpster

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Brave locals attempted to remove the can from the bear’s mouth after it began to approach buildings. Photo / Screenshot

A starving polar bear has found itself in a compromising position after attacking garbage cans in a town in northern Russia.

The alarm was raised in the town of Dikson after the two-year-old female bear was seen wandering the streets with a tin can on her muzzle. The animal had caught its tongue on the sharp metal of condensed milk, unable to remove it.

A brave resident filmed himself trying to remove the can after it approached buildings on the outskirts of town. However, they were unable to help.

A team of specialists from Moscow traveled to the region for a bear hunt. The large white animal was not hard to find in the Siberian summer tundra.

The polar bear had been seen wandering near the edge of Dikson with a tin can stuck to its tongue.  Photo / Supplied, Nornickel
The polar bear had been seen wandering near the edge of Dikson with a tin can stuck to its tongue. Photo / Supplied, Nornickel

They were able to calm the bear and operate to remove the rusty box from the animal’s tongue.

“The next important step is for her to recover from anesthesia. Our specialists will be on standby, to monitor the process,” said Svetlana Akulova, director general of Moscow Zoo.

“We left some fish near the bear because she hadn’t been able to eat or drink for quite a long time”

Moscow Zoo has a specialized SOZAR polar bear program that rehabilitates and treats animals in northern Russia. It is home to two bears, Tompa and Khatanga, who were rescued from Bolshevik Island, not far from Dikson in Krasnoyarsk Krai.

Specialists from the Moscow Zoo were able to find and operate on the two-year-old bear to remove a can.  Photo / Supplied, Nornickel
Specialists from the Moscow Zoo were able to find and operate on the two-year-old bear to remove a can. Photo / Supplied, Nornickel

However, their specialized rescue service has been increasingly busy during the warming Arctic summers.

Last week, a report by Canadian and American scientists warned that hungry polar bears are increasingly showing up in urban areas to scavenge litter as their habitat experiences climate change.

The report published in the journal Oryx said the problems cities were already experiencing with hungry bears were now being seen with larger polar bears venturing south.

Moscow vets remove a tin can from the tongue of a sedated polar bear.  Photo / Supplied, Nornickel
Moscow vets remove a tin can from the tongue of a sedated polar bear. Photo / Supplied, Nornickel

“Bears and trash are a bad combination,” co-author Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta told Reuters. “We know that very well from the perspective of brown bears and black bears, and now it’s a growing problem with polar bears.”

They see this largely due to climate change around the Arctic Circle, with bears becoming bolder in Russia, Canada and Alaska.

Dikson, dubbed the ‘capital of the Arctic’, has seen an increasing number of hungry polar bears come calling.

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