TYUMEN, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – An endangered bird that Russian President Vladimir Putin once tried to lead in flight has lost its flock and will be shipped to Moscow on an airplane Friday for safekeeping, a conservationist has said.
The Siberian crane will be moved for the winter to the Oksky wildlife reserve, some 250 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Moscow, biologist Alexander Sorokin said.
Experts are at a loss as to why the bird failed to keep up with its flock, said Sorokin, who spearheads the Flight of Hope crane conservation project.
“Maybe it’s sick. It looks a bit on the lean side for the season,” Sorokin told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
The bird was found last week, alone and stranded in the Tyumen Region in western Siberia.
The crane – which was given the unlikely name of Raven – had to live in a local ranger’s poultry yard until the biologists came to collect it.
The Flight of Hope project breeds Siberian cranes – which number a mere two dozen in western Siberia – in the Oksky reserve, from where they are released into the wild.
The freed birds need to be taught migration routes, which is usually done by a human in a hang-glider, whom the cranes take for their leader.
Putin, a noted animal lover, personally flew a hang-glider to lead six Siberian cranes and several other birds in flight in September 2012. However, the cranes failed to take the hint and did not go south that year.
Raven was ringed upon release, which allowed it to be identified as one of Putin’s six, an environmental official in the Tyumen Region said Tuesday.