Sarus, man-friend reunion video sets social media on fire

By, Kanpur
Apr 12, 2023 12:03 AM IST

Kanpur zoo official says quarantine period almost over and Sarus will be moved to the bird enclosure

Mohammad Arif, the man from Amethi, had an emotional reunion with his friend, a Sarus (crane) completing its 15-day long quarantine in Kanpur zoo after being separated from him nearly a month ago.

A screen grab from the video doing the rounds on social media (HT Photo)
A screen grab from the video doing the rounds on social media (HT Photo)

Seeing him, the Sarus – which in the past was depressed and ate a little – jumped in excitement across the 12-feet enclosure. The bird ran, chirped, spreading its wings, desperate to break free and reach Arif standing outside its enclosure in protective gear.

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A two-minute video of this heart-warming meeting has set the social media abuzz amid calls from people to the government to reunite the Sarus with its friend.

This morning Arif visited Kanpur zoo with SP MLA Amitabh Bajpai. Both Arif and Vajpayee wore protective gear. Arif called the bird in his own way and the bird sprang to life making sounds and jumping all around with wings wide open in joy. Arif broke down and wept.

“I was dying to see it but I could not get close to my Sarus because of the protocol,” he said after his meeting, adding, “I want it to be released in some bird sanctuary.”

SP MLA Bajpai said his eyes welled up seeing the bond between the two. “I have never been so emotionally charged,” he said.

A senior zoo official who didn’t wish to be named said the quarantine period is almost over and the plan is to move the Sarus in the bird enclosure.

The unique friendship of the Sarus and Arif, a resident of Mandkha village in Amethi district, who had last year rescued the bird, has been making waves on social media.

The Sarus was found by Arif in August 2022, injured in his fields, lying unconscious with a bleeding leg. He initially thought the sarus was dead but took it home when he realised that it was still breathing. He cleaned the wound and applied a mix of turmeric and mustard on it. Then he devised a splint out of bamboo to keep the leg stable.

But the crane refused to fly away even after it was well enough. Videos of Arif and the Sarus that went viral showed the bird following him everywhere. Even when Arif rode his bike, the bird flew above following him.

But the forest department acting otherwise took the Sarus to Samaspur Bird Sanctuary on March 21 from where it disappeared and was found again. The Sarus was finally sent to Kanpur zoo on March 29 and a case was lodged against Arif for violating sections 2, 9, 29, 51, 52 of the Wildlife Act, 1972.

Forest officials said Arif’s house was not the right place for a Sarus to live in and he should have informed the local forest officials on finding the bird.

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