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Putin leads young Siberian cranes in flight

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Sept. 6, 2012, 8:25 a.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin flies in a motorized hang glider alongside two Siberian white cranes, on the Yamal Peninsula, in Russia Wednesday Sept. 5, 2012. Putin took part in a flight as part of a program devised by environmentalists to lead the endangered cranes, which were raised in captivity, on their migration to Asia.
© AP

Associated Press

Associated Press

VLADIVOSTOK — President Vladimir Putin has piloted a motorized hang glider to lead a flock of young Siberian white cranes in flight. 

Dressed in a white costume meant to imitate an adult crane, Putin took part in a project to teach the endangered birds who were raised in captivity to follow the aircraft on their migration to Central Asia.

RIA-Novosti news agency reported that only one crane followed Putin on his first flight, which he attributed to high winds that caused the hang glider to travel faster than usual. On the second flight, five birds followed Putin, but after a few circles only two had stuck with him.

Putin stopped off at the Kushavet ornithological research station on the Yamal Peninsula on Wednesday on his way to an international summit in Vladivostok. 

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