On the way to the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Vladimir Putin arrived in Salekhard, from where he flew by helicopter to the Kushevat ornithological station. The President spoke with members of the Flight of Hope research expedition and took part in one of the experiments aimed to prompt the Siberian cranes raised in captivity to follow the winter migration route. Vladimir Putin piloted three flights of a motorised delta plane, once as a practice run and twice with the birds.
The Flight of Hope project is aimed at leading the Siberian cranes raised in a nursery from their nesting ground in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area through Western Siberia and Kazakhstan to the south of Uzbekistan, where the world's first alternative wintering ground has been created for these birds. This will greatly reduce the distance the cranes have to cover and solve the problem of losing birds during their flight over India via Afghanistan and Pakistan, where these rare birds are hunted. Scientists estimate that this method will result in 90% of Siberian cranes returning to their nesting grounds.