German wildlife park renames 'Putin' the boar
Berlin, Apr 20: A Bavarian animal park opted to change the name of one of its wild boars, previously named after Russian President Vladimir Putin, holding a ceremony Tuesday complete with a baptism, of sorts, in a popular water stock cube mixture that the animal enjoys.
The Mehlmeisel wildlife park in Bavaria had been mulling a name change for a few weeks.
After an online vote that also saw famous Ukrainian names floated like Zelenskyy and Klitschko, after the boxing brothers Vitaly and Wladimir, "Eberhofer" was chosen as an apolitical alternative to the current predicament.
Putin an awkward name to call among guests
The animal park's operator Eckard Mickish said he named the boar for Putin three years ago when it arrived given that it was a purebred Russian hog weighing nearly 200 kilograms (440 pounds), around three times more than wild boar typically found in Germany.
Mickish said it became uncomfortable calling the hog's name after war broke out.
He also had concerns about Ukrainian visitors, hundreds of thousands of whom have arrived in Germany following Russia's war of aggression. Ukrainian refugees are granted free admission at Melhmeisel.
From world leader to fictional policeman as namesake
Out of love and pity, the animal park announced on social media a contest for a new name.
After 2,700 suggestions, Melhmeisel animal park opted for Eberhofer, the name of the policeman in a popular book series set in Bavaria by Rita Falk. Mickish also quipped that the park had invited Franz Eberhofer to attend the baptism but had not heard back.
On Tuesday, the beast formerly known as Putin received its new name in a ceremony marked by a marzipan and biscuit cake decorated with five happy hogs.
However, with the seizure of everything from yachts to property belonging to Russian oligarchs following the invasion of Ukraine, baptizing the boar formerly known as Putin under a new name at Melhmeisel presented a minor nod to the good old days of oligarch excess, with the park promising, "a grandiose pig feast for him and his whole pack."
ar/msh (dpa, Reuters)