Putin tiger returns to Russia after China prowl
A Siberian tiger which had been freed by Russian President Vladimir Putin has returned to his homeland two months after crossing the border to China, state media said Wednesday.
Kuzya, one of three tigers released into the wild by Putin, arrived back on his native soil Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Forestry Department of northeast China's Heilongjiang province.
But the endangered feline may not be gone for long, a senior Chinese forestry administration official said.
"Kuzya is very likely to visit China again as it marked the areas he visited with his urine, designating his 'territory'," Zhang Minghai, vice director of the Feline Research Centre at China's State Forestry Administration, told Xinhua.
Zhang added that China "has a sound forest ecosystem and plenty of food" -- although Xinhua noted that the tiger "never ate domestic animals" during his two-month jaunt through the Middle Kingdom.
In May Putin -- who is known for his outdoor stunts involving animals -- released into the wild Kuzya and two other tigers, Borya and Ilona, according to the Kremlin's website and multiple reports at the time.
Two other Siberian tigers, Ustin and Svetlaya, were set free at a separate location in June without the presence of the Russian leader.
All five cubs had been found starving in the Russian snow forests two years ago and were rescued, treated and taught to hunt before being released back into the wild.
Since their release, news of the tigers' exploits has trickled in through China's state-run media, including a Xinhua report last month stating that Ustin had killed 18 Chinese goats in repeated nighttime raids on a farm.
Experts pointed the finger at Ustin after the tiger's footprints were found around the goat house and on the roof, the report said.
© 2014 AFP