STORY: This polar bear has been rescued near an arctic outpost in northern Russia after getting its tongue caught in a can of condensed milk.
Residents of the remote settlement of Dikson sounded the alarm when a two-year-old female was seen wandering around the huts in the village on Wednesday (July 20).
A team from Moscow Zoo flew out to tranquilize the animal and remove the sharp metal from her mouth.
They also treated the cuts to her tongue.
Mikhail Alshinetsky was part of the rescue team.
“The female polar bear was thin, slightly dehydrated. Her tongue was damaged, but most likely it will heal. The main muscles were not damaged, just cuts on the upper skin. She is now sedated. This will give us enough time to transport her to the destination."
Svetlana Akulova, the director general of Moscow Zoo said the next step for the rescue mission is the polar bear's recovery from anaesthesia.
In a report this week, a team of Canadian and U.S. scientists warned that hungry polar bears are increasingly turning to garbage dumps to fill their stomachs as their icy habitat disappears due to climate change.
The scientists said human trash poses an emerging threat to vulnerable polar bear populations as the animals become more reliant on landfills near northern communities in Russia, Canada and Alaska.