Mon, September 01, 2008
World > Europe

Russian PM Putin tames the tiger

2008-09-01 08:18:30 GMT2008-09-01 16:18:30 (Beijing Time) China Daily

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) holds a five-year-old tiger's head as scientists put on a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in the academy of sciencies Ussuri reserve in Russia's Far East August 31, 2008. [Agencies]

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) holds a five-year-old tiger's head as scientists put on a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in the academy of sciencies Ussuri reserve in Russia's Far East August 31, 2008. [Agencies]

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) holds a five-year-old tiger's head as scientists put on a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in the academy of sciences Ussuri reserve in Russia's Far East August 31, 2008. [Agencies]

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a tranquilliser gun as he visits the academy of sciences Ussuri reserve in Russia's far east August 31, 2008. [Agencies]

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a five-year-old tiger's head as he looks at a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in the academy of sciencies Ussuri reserve in Russia's Far East August 31, 2008. [Agencies]

MOSCOW - You've seen Vladimir Putin the bomber pilot, judo expert and fisherman -- but tiger tamer?

Russian media, known for hero-worshipping the prime minister and former president, reported Monday that Putin fired a tranquilizer dart at a tiger that got loose Sunday during a photo-op at a wildlife sanctuary.

According to Interfax news agency, a camera crew from state TV channel Vesti realised the five-year-old tiger had become untied, whereupon Putin leapt into action.

"Thanks to the agile and timely action the tiger was immobilised," Interfax said.

Photos released by state news agency RIA Novosti showed Putin next to a sleeping tiger and holding a gun used to fire tranquiliser darts.

Interfax said Putin kissed the big cat and said "goodbye."

He was visiting the Ussuriisky Nature Reserve in the far east of Russia to see how conservation experts track and study tigers.

The state media carefully honed Putin's tough-guy image during his eight-year presidency, notably in a photo session last year where the diminutive, fitness-mad leader posed bare-chested with fishing rods and rifles.

(Agencies)

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