MOSCOW — Vladimir Putin — tiger sedater, skin-diving archeologist, motorcycle rider, bare-chested horseman — has another role: mother hen.
Russia’s president, perpetually on the lookout for the photogenic adventure, stopped at an Arctic peninsula on his way to a summit in Vladivostok and used a motorized hang glider to lead a flock of captive-raised red cranes, the Interfax news agency reported.
The idea was to start the birds on their winter migration — an undertaking that required Russia’s strongman to don white coveralls and wear a glove that looks like a beak. That way, the young cranes would think he’s their mother.
The president has been learning to fly a glider for the past several months. He made three flights Wednesday: one for practice, one that attracted a single chick, and — finally — one that got five birds in motion.
The endangered cranes have been raised by the Russian World Wildlife Fund.