- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Not content with tranquilizing tigers and snuggling with polar bears, the Steve Irwin of world leaders continued his adventures in the wild this week. First, Putin had some words of warning for Russia’s national symbol:
Bears should be afraid of people, not the other way around, claimed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during a working visit to Russia’s Far East. The PM was discussing the problem of poaching in the region, as he observed some brown bears in their natural habitat for himself.
The bear may be a long-established symbol of Russia, but this does not stop 600 of the animals being killed every year. While in the wildlife reserve, the Prime Minister watched the animals fishing in the salmon-rich Kuril Lake.
During the visit, one journalist asked whether it was safe to be close to the bears. Putin responded by suggesting it is the bears who are the vulnerable ones.
But that was nothing compared with his exploits and awesome quips off the Kamchatka peninsula yesterday:
From the deck of a rubber boat, he fired darts from a crossbow to collect skin samples from a whale swimming near the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Back on shore, journalists asked Putin whether it was dangerous. He told them "to live in general is dangerous" but said he enjoyed Wednesday’s adventure.
He admitted that his first three shots missed in the choppy water and that only his fourth shot hit the whale.
Meanwhile, President Dmitry Medvedev, apparently more of an indoor kid, was having tea with Bono back in Sochi. Quite a contrast.
Hat tip: Joshua Kucera via Twitter