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Polar bear cub gets tin can trapped in its mouth

By Olga Gertcyk
07 November 2016

Successful rescue carried out, but the case on a remote Arctic island highlights the threat to wild animals from man's garbage.

The cub was walking around with its mother for up to two weeks with the tin can attached to its mouth. Picture: Dvorjchenko Vitaliy

A shocking picture of a polar bear with a condensed milk tin can wedged on its tongue has emerged from one of the world's most remote islands. Ironically, the bear was scavenging in rubbish left by a group that went to Wrangel Island to clean up debris polluting its pristine environment.

The cub was walking around with its mother for up to two weeks with the tin can attached to its mouth, wildlife rangers believe. They spotted the stricken bear and acted as soon as possible to remove the tin.

Head of the island's nature reserve Alexander Gruzdev said: 'Happily, it all ended well and I hope there will be no similar situations in the future.' 

Bears


Bears


Bears

Wildlife rangers spotted the stricken bear and acted as soon as possible to remove the tin. Pictures: Dvorjchenko Vitaliy

Environment inspector Ilya Petukhov and his team shot tranquillisers into the cub and its ever-present mother, before they removed the tin can from the young bear's mouth. 

The lid of the can had not been removed fully, and the sharp edges embedded in the bear's tongue as it licked the remains of the condensed milk, they said later.

After a few hours the bear family was observed in good health moving over the snow on the island between the Chukchi and East Siberian seas. 'Work had been underway to clean-up Wrangel island from garbage,' he said. 

Wrangel and a number of other Arctic islands are littered with trash, some of it from Soviet times.

Map


Garbage

The bear was obviously scavenging in rubbish left by a group that went to Wrangel Island to clean up debris polluting its pristine environment. Pictures: The Siberian Times, Wrangel Island Nature Reserve

'The workers used a barrel as a trash bin,' he said. 'They gathered everything left from their camp, including empty cans, so later this could be collected and taken away along with other garbage they picked up.

'And the bear cub obviously found this barrel with trash before it was taken away - and also this ill-fated tin. It was unfortunate  - the cub's mouth got stuck in the can, probably with its tongue, trying to lick it inside. It was a yearling, not very big yet.'

The rangers say no lasting damage was done to the bear cub on this occasion.

Wrangel Island has the highest density of polar bear dens in the world, and was one of the last refuges of woolly mammoths before their extinction.

Comments (6)

See this story of the bear with a can of "sgushchennoye moloko" reminded me of the bear at the Bronx Zoo that would be feed beer all the time and liked it.

More photos of Soviet Troops feeding polar bears condensed milk can be found at
Rare Historical Photos . Com under heading "Feeding Polar Bears From A Tank, 1950." It my understanding that
Polar Bears were first recorded feed condensed milk in 1927 on Wrangell Island in the Arctic Ocean.
Mark Seidenberg, Aliso Viejo, California, USA
28/11/2016 11:56
0
0
É bom saber que existe um santuário desses animais, pois só se houve notícias de extinção pelo mundo.
Humberto Nagel, Brasil
21/11/2016 19:52
0
0
Very good pictures we saw two men or soldiers near the cubs not being attacked by the polar Bears

Very good and very funny
Liguori leclerc, Trois-riviéres (Quebec) canada
14/11/2016 00:35
0
0
He must have suffering a lot,all the pain they have,and we do not know about,
very sad.
LMB V, U.S.A.
13/11/2016 20:46
0
0
Horrible! Poor cub, I'm happy this ended well, but think about other animals we don't know about.
Charlotte Wermuth, Eygelshoven/The Netherlands
08/11/2016 17:54
12
0
This is exactly what's happening all over the world. We impede on wild animals’ natural habitat. Where else will they go? We don't really take care of our own environment as much as we need to. We endanger not only ourselves, but also everything in this planet, mammals and all. Soon we will disseminate everything. All nations on this plant must do something about this problem. We cannot just talk about it.
PAPP , USA
08/11/2016 09:46
20
2
1

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