After a bond between a rare Sarus crane and a farmer who saved it gained fame, wildlife officials confiscated the bird and booked the man under Forest Act violation.
Farmer Mohammad Arif, a resident of Mandkha village in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, found the crane in his field last year and nursed the bird back to health, reports claimed. He expected the bird to fly away but it stayed and started to bond with him.
Although it is illegal for individuals to keep Sarus cranes or even feed them, Arif said he didn’t cage the bird or stopped it from flying away.
On 21 March, officials arrived and the protected bird was taken to a wildlife sanctuary.
Sarus cranes is the official “state bird”.
On Friday, 24 March, Office of the Sub Divisional Forest Officer, Gauriganj Sub Forest Division, Amethi summoned Arif for questioning.
“You are named accused in Forest Crime No-14/2022-23 dated 09.03.2023 for violating section 184.108.40.206 of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 (as amended) in Gauriganj range. This matter is being investigated by the undersigned,” the notice reads.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav told a press conference on Wednesday that the crane had been confiscated after he visited Arif and was pictured alongside the bird.