Remember back when Vladimir Putin “saved” a group of journalists from a wild Amur tiger, dramatically shooting it on national television? It was probably his most imaginative PR stunt, at least up until he jumped into a submarine to visit the bottom of Lake Baikal.
It looks like the poor cat is back in the news, as the animal in question has gone missing, despite wearing a satellite tracking collar that Putin had helped put on.
Though there is little information at the moment, the incident could become something of an embarrassment, especially if 1) the tiger was snatched by poachers (a major problem), or 2) the technology of the tracking collar failed. Putin may want to go home and locate his black lab, Koni, who had also once worn a GPS collar.
On the Times of London website, the very first comment comically alludes to a trend:
Now that’s just totally unfair and uncalled for. After all, for these kinds of endangered species, the Russian government does not shoot bullets, but rather tranquilizer darts. Journalists and human rights activists is another story.
UPDATE: The tiger is now safe, ladies and gentlemen, no need to panic. At least that’s what Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov is telling the wildlife experts.