Putin's tiger back in Russia after a jaunt in Chinese forests

After a two-month jaunt in the Chinese forests, a rare Siberian tiger released into the wild by Russian President Vladimir Putin crossed back into Russia, officials said on Wednesday.

PTI| Updated: Dec 10, 2014, 18:46 PM IST

Beijing: After a two-month jaunt in the Chinese forests, a rare Siberian tiger released into the wild by Russian President Vladimir Putin crossed back into Russia, officials said on Wednesday.

Heilongjiang Provincial Forestry Department received information from the Russian side that tracking devices showed the tiger, Kuzya, was back in Russia, State-run Xinhua news agency quoted an official from the wildlife conservation department as saying.

Russian wildlife experts rescued five tiger cubs about two years ago and Putin released three of them in May.

Kuzya was found to have wandered into Jiayin County in Heilongjiang in October, exploring an area as large as 2,200 square kilometres.

"Kuzya is very likely to visit China again as it marked the areas he visited with his urine, designating his 'territory'," said Zhang Minghai, vice director of the State Forestry Administration's Feline Research Centre.

"China has a sound forest ecosystem and plenty of food," he said.

Kuzya did not avoid roads or human habitats but never attacked domestic animals, he said.

An estimate puts the number of Siberian tigers left in the wild at 600, less than 30 of those are in China.