Questions are emerging over Vladimir Putin's famous encounter with a tigress three years ago.

Environmentalist Dmitry Molodtsov says the animal that Putin shot with a tranquilizer gun and tagged with a GPS collar in 2008 is different from the one later photographed in the wild by a government-financed institute.

Molodtsov said Friday photos posted on the website of the Amur tiger conservation project show different coat patterns of the animal that Putin tagged and the tigress photographed later in the wild.

A coordinator at the Amur tiger conservation project dismissed his claim as untrue.

Molodtsov also alleged that the tigress Putin shot with a tranquilizer was taken out of a local zoo, and did not live in the wild. He cited photographs of the zoo animal as proof.