VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (AP) - 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.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)