German wildlife park renames Putin the pig

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MEHLMEISEL, Germany, April 19 (Reuters) - An animal park in Bavaria that had named one its wild boars Putin due to its Russian genetic heritage held a ceremony on Tuesday to rechristen the hairy hog with a German name following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Eckard Mickish, operator of the park just outside the town of Mehlmeisel, said he named the boar after Russian President Vladimir Putin three years ago upon its arrival given it had been bred from pure-race boar from Russia.

At nearly 200 kg (441 lb), the hog weighed around three times as much as those typically found in Germany, he said.

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But lately whenever Mickish had to do a roll call of the boar for visitors, a shiver went down his spine when mentioning Putin given the war unfolding just west. He also worried how Ukrainian visitors would feel.

He soon came to the conclusion that no pig deserved this name so the park announced on social media a search for a new name. About 2,700 suggestions poured in, and Eberhofer - the name of a policeman from a popular Bavarian book series - won the vote.

The boar was rechristened on Tuesday in a ceremony that included a marzipan and biscuit cake decorated with five pink smiling pigs.

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Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Richard Chang

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