Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Kremlin Chechen Leader Acquires Pet Tiger and Lion

Pro-Kremlin Chechen Leader Acquires Pet Tiger and Lion

Created: 17.01.2006 10:53 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 10:53 MSK, 8 hours 6 minutes ago


Deputy Prime Minister of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, famous for many eccentric habits, appears to have a pet tiger and lion, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

The 3-month-old Ussuriisk tiger was given to Kadyrov by a “rich person”, the politician explained. He joked that he will walk his new pet along the streets, but then seriously said that a zoo would be built in Grozny, the Chechen capital twice carpet-bombed by the Russian military and still without running water.

The tiger is not enough for the zoo, but Kaduryov has a lion cub too. He also used to have a wolf and a bear, according to the newspaper.

Questions were immediately asked about the tiger’s provenance. Natalia Dronova, coordinator of the trafficking program at the World Wildlife Fund’s Moscow office, told the Guardian daily that Kadyrov should account for where he got the tiger.

She added he would need paperwork if he were to transfer it to a zoo, and could break the law if he kept it at home without documentation. There are as few as 450 Ussuriisk tigers living wild in Russia’s Amur region, 50 of which are killed each year, their body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Kadyrov, seen as the unofficial head of war-torn Chechnya, is widely criticized by human rights groups for brutal torture. He is not averse to controversy and last week suggested that the Chechens should embrace polygamy to counter a gender imbalance caused by years of armed conflict.

Kadyrov, a father of five, said there were at least 9 percent fewer males than females. He added that a change in the law would not be necessary as: “Every person decides for himself how he lives. I am sure we’re not going to interfere in his personal life.”


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