Tiger set free by Putin still roaming in China

 One of the rare Siberian tigers set free by Russian President Vladimir Putin was spotted near the Sino-Russian border, a month after it strayed into China, official media reports here said.

Beijing: One of the rare Siberian tigers set free by Russian President Vladimir Putin was spotted near the Sino-Russian border, a month after it strayed into China, official media reports here said.

"Kuzya", first of three Siberian tigers released by Putin to enter the Chinese territory, was detected on Monday several hundred meters away from the Sino-Russian border river in the Taipinggou nature reserve, according to a GPS tracking device on the tiger, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Earlier reports said that the tiger was moving southward and may spend the winter in China.

After analysing the GPS data, the experts concluded that Kuzya was walking along the bank of the Heilongjiang River this week, possibly seeking a chance to return to Russia.

The big cat had swam across the border river from Russia to China in October.

However, expanding drift ice on the surface of the river has hampered its return in the recent days.

Kuzya was one of three Siberian tigers released by Putin in May.

Fewer than 500 Siberian tigers remain in the wild, mainly in eastern Russia, northeast China and northern parts of the Korean Peninsula.

China puts its own number of wild Siberian tigers between 18 and 22, mostly living in the border areas.

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