Image: Siberian Times/Artem But
The holidays have their own menagerie of iconic animals, from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to that random sheep that shows up in nearly every nativity scene. But this year, as a change of pace, we are nominating some fresh new animal icons, sourced from one of the most under-rated corners of the internet: The YouTube Channel of The Siberian Times, a Moscow-based organization that covers Siberian news.
As it turns out, Siberia is packed with animals that, by all rights, should have already starred in their own holiday movies at this point in time. The Times’ video playlist spotlights cuddly wild kittens and hibernation-bound bears, along with other Siberian-specific oddities like spontaneous snowball creation, subterranean methane bubbles, and the alleged world’s largest sawdust dump.
To spread the good word, we rounded up our top five favorite animals featured from the page; each of them is at least as charismatic enough to rival Rudolph and his North Pole ilk. For more, check out this gem of a YouTube channel for yourself, which is summed up beautifully by publication’s slogan: “What happens in Siberia stays in Siberia—unless it's covered by The Siberian Times!”
5. Vasya the Confused Flamingo
Motherboard’s Sarah Emerson recently reported on a confused flamingo, nicknamed Vasya, who ended up in Siberia after wandering thousands of miles off course on his migratory route from Kazakhstan to the Arabian peninsula. The bird was found and rescued by local children near the village of Motygino in Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk region. He recuperated after warming up and feasting on some shrimp. Classic Vasya.
4. Swinging Bear
Video: Siberian Times/Artem But
Pretty self-explanatory. This bear has a hobby and will not quit, no matter how many onlookers lament the reality of bears taking over the streets of Siberia. “They even go swinging!” one woman declares towards the end of the video. But the bear swings on, in what is perhaps the most Siberian thing ever captured on film.
3. Semyon the Frozen-Footed Cat
Trapped outside in minus 35 degrees Celsius temperatures, an intrepid cat in the Siberian town of Zlatoust hid underneath a car to ride out a winter storm. Unfortunately, all four of his paws become completely encased in ice while he waited for the cold to pass. When the owners of the vehicle found the poor animal, nicknamed Semyon, it took seven buckets of warm water to release him from his frigid manacles. According to The Siberian Times, Semyon recovered and has been adopted.
2. Drag-Racing Reindeer
Siberian reindeer are way too badass to be harnessed to some magical flying sleigh. They’d much rather drag-race cars on the highway, as captured by this drive-by shot of a herd of deer completely dominating an entire lane of traffic.
1. Kung Fu Bison
Video: Siberian Times
Last but certainly not least, enjoy the martial arts stylings of the one-and-only Kung Fu Bison of Pleistocene Park, a wilderness reserve north-east of Yakutia. Not content to have inbuilt horned weapons on its head, the bison is practicing its moves with a makeshift staff. As we say good riddance to 2016 and look on to 2017, Kung Fu Bison reminds us all to dream big.
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from Move Over, Rudolph: Siberia Has Drag-Racing Reindeer and Kung Fu Bison