'Bachcha' the Sarus crane with its saviour Mohammed Arif.
'Bachcha' the Sarus crane with its saviour Mohammed Arif. Image Credit: Twitter@NEWJplus

Lucknow: The Sarus taken away by the forest department from Mohammed 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 Mohammed 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.

The Sarus crane is seen at a field in Amethi near Mohammed Arif's home.
File photo: 'Bachcha' the Sarus crane with its saviour Mohammed Arif.

Yadav criticises the decision

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 Mohammed 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.

Mohammed Arif and his friend Sarus crane
File photo: Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav meets with Mohammed Arif and his friend Sarus crane at a field during his visit to Amethi.

Least social crane species

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.