MOSCOW, Aug. 25 (UPI) — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin joined scientists studying endangered gray whales during a visit Wednesday to Kamchatka Island.
The scientists are trying to determine whether the whales that feed in Olga Bay in the Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve are a remnant of a Korean population of gray whales almost wiped out by whaling in the 19th century or are California gray whales, ITAR-Tass reported. California gray whales breed off southern California and northern Mexico, migrating to arctic waters in the summer.
Putin made four attempts to use a crossbow designed to get a skin sample for DNA testing. He said he finally hit a whale the fourth time.
“I had the sporting feeling,” he said. “I missed the target thrice, but hit it the fourth time.”
The president described the area as “extreme” but beautiful. He said the government should begin encouraging ecotourism by expanding transportation to the Pacific coast of Russia.
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