On Thursday evening, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin showed journalists a two month-old Siberian tiger cub he received for his birthday
10 october 2008
Mr Putin met the journalists at the entrance to the guest house at his country residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. "I did not expect to see such a crowd. I have been working with many of you for a long time, and not so long with others. Some of you have been on different trips with me, and seen all sorts of things, but today's event is private rather than public," the Prime Minister said.
He did not say who gave him such a special gift. "It does not matter. What matters is that she (the tigress) will live in good conditions. We will place her in good care and tell you where it is," Mr Putin said. When asked whether he will visit his pet in the Zoo, he replied: "Absolutely, together with all of you."
The cub weighs just 10 kilos. She has not been named yet, but Mashenka and Milashka were among the options discussed. She has an excellent appetite. "She eats two kilos of meat in the morning, and two kilos in the evening," Mr Putin smiled.
The vet, Yelena, said that the cub was very calm and confident in the presence of journalists. "Now she is playing to the crowd, but yesterday she was hissing and roaring," she said, although Mr Putin tried to explain the cub's behaviour by the journalists' good aura. "She behaves as if she is being filmed for a movie, and she seems to like it."
The vet said that this seemingly defenceless cub, which is now stretching in a small cat basket, will become a formidable predator in a couple of months. "In three months, you will not be able to approach her that easily. An adult Siberian tigress will weigh from 200 to 250 kilos," Yelena said.
The journalists asked Mr Putin whether he was planning to introduce the cub to his other pet, Labrador Connie. "No, she has not met Connie yet."