A big cat known popularly here as “Putin’s tiger” has killed and eaten a bear in Russia’s far east, according to state news agency Interfax. The tiger, called Boris, was released into the wild personally by Vladimir Putin in May last year, during another of the famously animal-loving president’s televised stunts.
Staff at the nature reserve in the Amur region where Boris roams said they had found what little remained of the bear Tuesday.
“By the time we arrived at his hunting-ground, there wasn’t much left of Boris’ feast,” Vyacheslav Kastrikin, the park’s deputy director, told Interfax. “So it was hard to say if it was a brown bear or an Asian black bear.”
On balance, Kastrikin thought Boris had devoured probably a 2- or 3-year-old brown bear.
The Russian national symbol came off worse to Boris, who is a rare Amur tiger, which can grow up to 10 feet long. Putin has been a vocal supporter of efforts to protect the tigers, of which only 450 remain, according to the World Wildlife Fund. The three he released had been rescued as orphans.
One of the other tigers, Kuzya, also made headlines here not long ago, after she crossed into China and ate a domestic dog. At the time, the Russian Internet was full of jokes that the tiger had fled to China, unable to bear Russia any longer.