China Thinks It's Spotted 'Putin's Tiger'

Russian prez helped release Kuzya into the wild in May
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2014 12:23 PM CDT
China Thinks It's Spotted 'Putin's Tiger'
In this 2008 file photo, Vladimir Putin holds a head of a tranquilized 5-year-old Siberian tiger as researchers put a collar with a satellite tracker on.   (AP Photo/Alexei Druzhinin, Pool, File)

In May, Vladimir Putin helped release three rare Siberian tigers into the wilds of Russia's remote eastern Amur region. Now, after reports last week that one of them had crossed over into China (the New York Times called it a "territory grab"), Beijing is confirming the presence of the female, dubbed Kuzya, and says it's removing traps and setting up cameras. Russia isn't being terribly cagey in warning China to take good care of the tiger, with the environmental minister issuing a statement saying he "hopes our Chinese colleagues will ensure that the fate of the predator follows the framework of international cooperation."

China appears to be eager to help; USA Today notes that though the region in which Kuzya has been spotted is teeming with prey, a Chinese official says, " if necessary, we can release cattle into the region to feed it." A second of those three tigers Putin released has been spotted near the border with China. (Meanwhile, the Vlad turned 62 last week—with an exhibit of himself as Hercules.)

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