Lucknow, March 23: The sarus taken away by the forest department from Mohd Arif, who has nursed the injured bird back to health, has gone missing from the Samaspur bird sanctuary in Salon in Rae Bareli.
The sarus that responds to the name 'Bachcha' has not been sighted since Wednesday evening.

Regional forest officer Rupesh Srivastava said that forest personnel were searching for the bird.

The sarus was attached to Mohd Arif and had been living with him since the past one year. The bird refused to leave his house even after recovering fully from its injuries.

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had visited Arif's house to see the bird and shortly after forest officials reached his house and took away the bird saying that the sarus is a wild bird and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act and hence cannot be kept in captivity.

Akhilesh Yadav strongly criticised the decision to take away the bird from Mohd Arif and said that since he had visited the latter, the sarus was taken away.

A senior forest official said that it is possible that the bird has flown out to look for Arif and may have lost its way

Sarus cranes are regarded as the least social crane species. They can be very protective when nesting and are aggressive towards intruders.

Lucknow divisional forest officer Ravi Singh said that 'sarus' is a wild bird under the Wildlife Protection Act.

"We have a system to protect and nurture it, but one should be cautious. You cannot touch its wings or hold it near you. No human touch is allowed," he said.

The sarus must be allowed to live in the wild and cannot be domesticated and allowed contact with humans. A diet of insects, fish and pila must be given to the bird, he added.

Arif said that he is worried that the bird is missing and hoped that it would be found soon.

(IANS | Posted on 23 March 2023, 1695768450 3O239O59O31)