As the United States enters the heart of its presidential election season, the sight of candidates making publicity stops is hardly unusual. In Russia, meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin has undertaken a publicity appearance of another sort -- not on behalf of his own political interests, but to draw attention to a species of endangered cranes. The president recently took flight with the cranes, via motorized hang glider, all in an effort to draw attention to the ongoing work to rehabilitate this rare species of bird. The president's involvement with the project has won the support of Itera International Group of Companies.
According to the Telegraph, Mr. Putin not only helped to release the birds -- a rare species known as sterkh cranes, which have been raised in nurseries -- back into the wild, but he also flew with them, even attempting to assume the position of "lead" crane in their flying formation. The release of the cranes is the culmination of the Flight of Hope project, a long-running collaboration between Russian scientists and Itera International Group of Companies, designed to salvage these rare cranes.
Only 20 of these sterkh cranes still exist in the wild; as for President Putin, his love for wildlife, and passion for conservation, are well known. Itera International Group of Companies has been a proud sponsor and financial supporter of the Flight of Hope project since 2005.
The release of the sterkh cranes is said to be the critical stage of the project. As the cranes migrate south, they will be monitored by scientists, zealous to ensure that the birds reach their destination and reproduce. The flight of the cranes also represents the stage that Itera believes will draw the most publicity and general support for the project, particularly with the involvement of President Putin.
George Archibald, co-founder of the International Crane Foundation, has applauded the initiative: "Congratulations to Itera and the crane team for cultivating the interest of Mr. Putin in Flight of Hope. Let us hope that such high-level involvement will create a fertile partnership between the Russian Government and Itera in reestablishing self-sustaining migratory populations of Siberian Cranes along the traditional migration routes." The Itera endeavor has also won praise from U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell, who affirmed President Putin's "personal involvement" and his commitment to wildlife conservation.
Igor Makarov, head of Itera International Group of Companies, also commented on the commencement of the expedition: "We have been supporting The Flight of Hope Project since 2005. A huge amount of work has been accomplished through the initiative of the Ministry for Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, along with the involvement of Itera, to establish the required infrastructure: open-air cages in the Oka Reserve have been modernized; meanwhile, five hang gliders, which make the core material base of The Flight of Hope Project, have been constructed, tested, and adjusted for the Project's needs." Continues Makarov, "These unique birds, currently only twenty in the whole world, need continuous help and attention. We are absolutely happy that the Project has won assistance at the top level and was supported personally by the head of the state."
Itera International Group of companies is a leading supplier of energy, including oil and gas, throughout Russia and the rest of the world. The company is known for its strong stance in support of environmental conservation and wildlife preservation.
Itera International Group of Companies is a vertically integrated company founded in 1992, with dozens of enterprises in the NIS, Baltic States, Western Europe, Asia, and the United States. Since 1994, Itera's main business activity has been natural gas. Starting in 1998, Itera Oil and Gas Company, within the Itera Group, has been expanding its own gas production in the Yamal-Nenets region of Russia and has invested over two billion dollars into infrastructure. Overall, over 250 billion cubic meters of gas were produced at Itera's gas fields. The total volume of gas sold by Itera has surpassed 600 billion cubic meters. Itera's strategic business developments are also reaching into development, biochemical, and power generating segments.
The American division of the company, Itera USA, was founded in 1992. In addition to their work in the energy industry, Itera USA has also found success in timber, real estate, and more. Itera always welcomes new ideas, and strives to build bridges between peoples and cultures through the implementation of quality energy solutions.