Animal Lover

17 Photos of Putin Schmoozing With Animals (Photos)

Apparently the president of Russia has a more than a few wildlife allies. Whether he’s shaking hands with a walrus or tackling polar bears, Vladimir Putin is the king of animal photo-ops.

Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA /Reuters

When important world leaders descend on St. Petersburg for the latest G20 summit this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin will have lots of schmoozing to do. He's not known to have a warm or fuzzy personality, but he does seem to have a way with animals. From shaking hands with a walrus to tagging a tiger to catching a few fish, Putin has done it all—and has the photographs to prove it.

Alexei Nikolskyi/RIA /Reuters

Nice to meet you. Putin shakes hands with a walrus during a visit to the Primorsky Aquarium in Vladivostok on September 1.

Alexei Nikolsky/AP

Putin helps to attach a radio beacon on the neck of a polar bear during his April 2010 visit to the Franz Josef Land archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Ria Novosti/Reuters

Putin pets a dolphin at the Primorsky Aquarium on September 1.

Pool photo by: Alexey Druzhinii

Nothing but a cage door stands between Putin and a female leopard on May 2, 2010, during his visit to the national park in Sochi.

Valentina Petrova/AP

Who knew Putin has ... feelings? It took cuddling with a Bulgarian "Karakachanka" sheepdog puppy to crack a smile on the world leader's face. The dog was a gift from Bulgarian leader Boiko Borissov, who presented Putin with the pup in November 2010 after the pair signed an agreement on a gas-transit pipeline.

Pool photo by: Alexei Druzhinin

Maybe his new title should be Putin the Horse Whisperer. In this photo, taken on February 25, 2010, Putin takes a break from his ride around the foothills of Karatash in Siberia and caresses his mighty steed.



Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty

Putin feeds his friend Dasha, the Beluga whale.


Putin inspects a sturgeon as he visits a fishing farm near the southern town of Astrakhan in April 2002.


Alexei Druzhinin/AP

Putin doesn't look impressed as he eyes a Siberian white crane approaching his motorized hang glider on the Yamal Peninsula in September 2012. Putin was taking part in a program devised to help the endangered cranes on their migration to Asia.  

Barcroft Media/Getty

A Siberian tiger is no match for Putin, who helped tag one during a visit to the Barabash tiger reserve in eastern Siberia.



Alexei Druzhinin/AP

Putin feeds a baby elk while visiting the Losiny Ostrov National Park in Moscow on June 5, 2010.

Alexsey Druginyn/AFP/Getty

Putin tussles with his dogs, Buffy and Yume, on March 24, 2013, at his residence outside Moscow.



Alexei Nikolsky/AP

For his 56th birthday, Putin got a female tiger cub, natch. Here, they are pictured together at his residence on October 9, 2008.

Alexei Druzhinin/AP

Who will blink first? Putin and a baby chick engage in an epic staring contest during an agricultural exhibition in Moscow in October 2008.

Alexei Nikolsky

Putin displays a pike he caught on July 20, 2013, while fishing during a vacation in the Siberian Tyva region.



Pool photo by: Alexei Druzhinin

A shirtless Putin and his horse roam the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region during a vacation in August 2009.