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    'Putin's' tiger gives birth to three cubs

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    Amur tigress Serga, who was given a tracking collar by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin two years ago, has given birth to three cubs, researchers said on Friday.

    Amur tigress Serga, who was given a tracking collar by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin two years ago, has given birth to three cubs, researchers said on Friday.

    "Pictures from photo traps in the far eastern Ussurisky reserve dated January 17, 2011, show that the tigress is accompanied by three cubs aged approximately three or four months," the Russian Institute of Ecology and Evolution, which runs an Amur tiger conservation program, said in a statement.

    The Russian premier attached a GPS transmitter to the tigress during his visit to the reserve in August 2008. Since then, the tigress has given birth to three other cubs, two males and one female.

    Putin, who is known to have a weak spot for furry animals, has a particular fondness for tigers. He was given a two-month-old Amur tiger as a present on his 56th birthday in 2008. The tigress was named Mashenka and later sent to a zoo in southern Russia.

    The Russian government says an Amur tiger could become the symbol of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, to be held in the Russian Far Eastern city of Vladivostok in 2012.

    Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, are classed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, with only about 450 individuals left in the wild.

    MOSCOW, January 28 (RIA Novosti) 

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