Missing sarus found, says UP forest officer

Lucknow, Mar 24 (IANS): Uttar Pradesh forest officials claim to have found the sarus that had gone missing after being relocated to the Samaspur bird sanctuary in Rae Bareli.

The sarus had gone missing on Wednesday evening. Officials said that they had spotted the sarus at the other end of the sanctuary and the bird was safe.

However, they admitted that the bird was probably having problems adjusting to the new surroundings.

Chief Wildlife Warden Sunil Chaudhary said that the priority of the department at present is to ensure proper treatment and care of the bird.

Conservator, Endangered Species, Manoj Sonkar said that a team has been constituted to watch the behaviour of the sarus for some time and the team will prepare a report which will be handed over to the chief wildlife warden, who would then decide where to keep the bird.

Officials said that the sarus may be shifted to a zoo because it is domesticated and may be unfit for survival in the wild.

Under the Wildlife Protection Act, if any wildlife is kept in captivity, it is considered a crime equivalent to hunting. There is a provision of an FIR in such a case.

"Again, it is a matter of intention," said sources in the department, adding that in this case, if the man was willing to harm the sarus, he could have done it much earlier. But that does not appear to be the case here, he said.

People in general are not aware of wildlife-related rules and regulations. Enforcing them at times may sound cruel to the aggrieved parties, but somebody needs to do the hard part, an official said.

The story of friendship between Mohd Arif, who rescued the injured bird, and the sarus has already acquired political overtones.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who had visited Arif's village to meet him, alleged that the bird was taken away from Arif only because he had visited them.



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