Polar bear rescued after getting condensed milk can stuck in mouth in Russia

A polar bear has been rescued after getting its tongue caught in a can of condensed milk while roaming an Arctic outpost in northern Russia.

The two-year-old female was saved after it was spotted by local residents wandering into huts in a village in the remote settlement of Dikson on Wednesday.

The bear was saved by a team from Moscow Zoo who flew out to tranquilise the animal with a dart and removed the sharp metal from its mouth, treating cuts to its tongue.

Watch: Polar bear rescued after tongue stuck in can

Mikhail Alshinetsky, a vet from the zoo, said the bear was thin and a little dehydrated but its injuries were expected to heal.

In a report this week, scientists from Canada and the US have warned that hungry polar bears are increasingly turning to garbage dumps to fill their stomachs as their habitat disappears due to climate change.

The scientists said human rubbish poses an emerging threat to vulnerable polar bear populations as the animals become more reliant on landfills near northern communities in places such as Russia, Canada and Alaska.

Svetlana Akulova, director general of Moscow Zoo, said the next important stage for the bear is her recovery from the anaesthesia, as specialists watch nearby.

"We hope that everything will be fine. We left some fish near the bear because she had been without food and water for quite a long time," she said.

The bear will remain under observation for several days and then it will be taken to its natural habitat with a supply of fish.

Polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt seals. But with the Arctic warming four times faster than the rest of the world, sea ice is melting out earlier in the summer and freezing up later in the fall.

This forces bears to spend more time ashore, away from their natural prey.

Dikson is a port and is one of the world's northernmost settlements.