Russian scientists rescue the heavy polar bear

Russian scientists rescue the heavy polar bear

The difficult situation for a female whose tongue was stuck captivated the Russian public

Russian authorities flew a team of veterinarians all the way from Moscow to rescue a polar bear in the remote Arctic settlement of Dikson on Thursday. The female stuck her tongue in a can of condensed milk and slowly starved to death. A video of the bear begging for help on the porch of a house in Dikson went viral in Russia this week.

“Half the tongue stuck in the jar” Alexander Makarkin, an airport employee who recorded the video, told Russian media. The bear had gone up to the porch of his house and Makarkin tried to remove the jar from her mouth and captured the moment on his mobile phone camera.

A team of specialists from the Moscow Zoo made the 2,730 kilometer journey to the Russian Arctic. When they arrived on Thursday, they quickly tranquilized the bear and carefully removed the metal can from her tongue, which was badly injured. The female, which they named “Monetka” (coin) was then given an infusion to regain his strength and was airlifted away from Dikson by helicopter.

“We saw the bear about three kilometers from Dikson Airport,” said Svetlana Radionova, head of Russia’s Natural Resources Management Agency Rosprirodnadzor, on her telegram channel. “Our specialists managed to calm her down with their first shot. She fell asleep within ten minutes and we removed the jar. Now a vet is treating her tongue, which has many cuts.”

The bear turned out to be a female, about two years old, and weighing less than 90 kilograms (198 pounds). She couldn’t eat or drink for days, said Mikhail Alshinetsky, one of the vets who flew in for Dikson.

“The tongue is damaged, but will probably recover because the underlying muscles are not affected.” said Alshinetsky.

Radionova explained that the plan was to keep the bear sedated until her tongue could be patched, then lift her away from the city and leave her in the wilderness about 60-100 kilometers (37-62 miles) away, with “three sacks of fish” she can eat until she is healthy enough to hunt. “We will keep an eye on her to make sure she is fine,” she added.

Rosprirodnadzor organized the rescue expedition, led by Moscow Zoo chief veterinarian Dmitry Egorov, within a day of Makarkin’s video making the rounds. Unfortunately, bad weather kept them waiting for several hours in Norilsk, the nearest major city.

Dikson is a community of fewer than 600 residents in the Krasnoyarsk Region, near where the Yenisei River flows into the Kara Sea. It is the northernmost human settlement on the Asian continent and is named after Baron Oscar Dickson, a 19th-century Swedish pioneer of Arctic exploration.





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