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Putin pilots hang glider to point cranes to new winter home

12:19 PM, Sep 6, 2012   |    comments
By Alexei Druzhinin, President Press Service/RIA-Novosti, via AP
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has added to his take-charge image by piloting a motorized hang glider to help guide endangered Siberian cranes to a new winter home, The Moscow Times reports.

A Kremlin video shows the newly elected president soaring through the air, followed by several birds who had been raised in captivity.

The flights were aimed at showing the birds a route to specially created wintering grounds in southern Uzbekistan, the Kremlin says in a statement today, according to the Times.

The Kremlin says the route to their traditional wintering grounds in India has become too dangerous because of poachers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the video, Putin is shown making three brief flights over the arctic Yamal Peninsula on Wednesday as part of the "Flight of Hope" project to boost Siberian crane populations.

Putin, a former KGB officer, has been photographed in the past riding horses in southern Siberia, searching for anciety pottery in the Black Sea and swimming in a Siberian lake, the Times notes.

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