Russian president Vladimir Putin is no friend of Ukrainians or the gays. However, he is known for his ability to mix easily in the animal kingdom and for his interest in wildlife. The BBC reports that in the past he has been seen tagging whales and intervening to save people from an enraged tiger. He has also flown in a microlight aircraft to help cranes migrate.
Before the Sochi Olympics, President Putin took journalists and Olympic officials to visit a nearby sanctuary for Persian leopards. The president is keen to restore these spotted predators to southern Russia, where they had become extinct by the 1970s. But the visit provided another opportunity for him to demonstrate his rapport with non-human life. When one of the leopard cubs in the sanctuary became agitated, attacking two journalists, Putin stepped in and calmed the animal down.
"I like animals," commented the Russian president. "It seems I have a feeling for them. We like each other."
Russia President Putin encounters Sochi leopard cubs (image source, BBC)
Vladimir Putin helps bird migration
An inuit panda production