Russian President Vladimir Putin completed his latest outdoor publicity stunt on Wednesday by leading the migration of critically endangered cranes. Putin volunteered to pilot an ultralight above the skies of Siberia to help the endangered cranes embark on their yearly winter migration.

According to Russia Today, the birds were raised in captivity at the Kushevat ornithological station in Yamal, Siberia. Due to their artificial upbringing, the cranes need guidance to know when, and how, to migrate south.

The white Siberian cranes needed to be “convinced” that the much larger ultralight was really a crane in order to follow it. This meant that not only the ultralight had to be painted white, but Vladimir Putin even had to don a white jumpsuit in order to mimic a larger crane.

Despite objections and criticism from biologists and political opponents, the flight appears to have been a success. Putin had to say about the flight:

It is amazing how the birds get used to it, they do not fear the hang-glider and they overtook it. They are amazing. It’s a very good feeling.

Putin appeared to have piloted the craft for the duration of the flight, although he did have a senior pilot behind him.

Vladimir Putin has said, and shown, many times in that past that he is an animal lover. The Russian president has had close-up encounters with many of the rarest species in Russia since coming to power. Some of the most notable were with an Amur tiger, a snow leopard, a beluga whale, and a polar bear.

Watch the video of the flight below.


Image courtesy of YouTube user RussiaToday

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2 thoughts on “Video: Vladimir Putin Leads Endangered Cranes on Migration Route in Ultralight Aircraft

  1. Could have been a deadly situation, all for publicity? We can criticize the reason(s) this was undertaken, or maybe accept that he truly cares and regardless, put his life on the line. Would you have done this?

  2. A couple of points that this piece failed to mention: Like the facts!

    The ‘event’ was a staged show for Putin. Nothing more. It’s
    disingenuous nature caused the death of at least one extremely rare and
    valued crane chick and endangered the rest. There are only 20 of these
    cranes in the wild. Thus, any action involving them directly should be
    executed with their welfare at the forefront. Not the whimsical
    ‘branding’ of a cheap-trick politician; regardless of whether he ‘likes
    animals’ or not.

    2) A top editor of the Russian science journal
    was fired (official word is, she; Masha Gessen, also author of a book
    critical of Putin; and management came to a ‘mutual separation
    agreement’, over ‘differences’ of management and editorial views) from
    her position, because she would NOT send a reporter to specifically
    cover Putin’s antics. The magazine, Vokrug Sveta, already had a reporter
    attending to cover the scientific aspects of the event.

    I had
    read a couple of articles of the event and had listened to two
    interviews; one with Marsha Gressen; so I was aware of the ‘background’
    on this story.

    When I saw the lead-in title, I was shocked to
    see such a positive spin on a totally bogus action. Putin should not
    receive a single line of positive coverage on this. He was a liability,
    not an asset.

    Report the facts. Putting the ‘truth’ in the
    heading would have gotten more interest and your reporting would not
    have been slid under the microscope of scrutiny for editorial veracity.

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