London, September 1 : Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been hailed as a hero after preventing a TV crew from being killed by a tiger at the Ussuri reserve in Siberia.
The former President visited the reserve to observe researchers monitored the tigers in the wild.
When he saw a trapped beast escape and charge towards a nearby camera crew, Putin quickly shot the beast and sedated it with a tranquillizer gun.
"Vladimir Putin not only managed to see the giant predator up close but also saved our television crew too," the Telegraph quoted a presenter on Rossiya television as saying at the start of the main evening news.
Putin helped measure the Amur tiger's incisors before placing a satellite transmitter around the neck of the beast, which can weigh up to 450 kg.
The Amur tiger, the world's biggest wild cat, has recently pounced back from the brink of extinction to hit its highest population level for at least 100 years, the WWF said last year.
Putin thanked Western researchers for being involved in programmes to save the Amur tigers.
"First of all, we must thank our colleagues, Americans, European colleagues for being involved with this during a difficult time for Russia when no-one was paying any attention to this," he said.