No mistaking it, the tigers and lions at the Vladivostok Circus look a touch on the chubby side.

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And now animal lovers in Russia want answers about why so many of the animals are overweight.

The controversy comes at a time when skilled lion whisperer Vitaly Smolyanets, 44, stands already accused of abusing the animals.

For his part, Smolyanets denies the charges, saying his animals are not fat and insisting they “feel excellent.”

All of the focus stems from the animals being the center of attention since the circus had previously been closed.

So far, at least one outside animal expert agrees that the cats look fat. Sergey Aramilev, director of Amur Tiger Centre, which protects big cats native to eastern Siberia, told the Mirror that “wild animals kept in captivity do put on weight.”

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One furious man even said, “They are making clowns out of wild animals.”

Anna Caplan contributes to Rare Houston and Rare Animals. 
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