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Arif’s Sarus being trained for life in the wild

Kanpur, May 19 (IANS) The Sarus crane that lived with Mohammed Arif of Amethi for over a year, is now being taught to adapt to the ways of the wild at the Kanpur Zoo.

According to zoo officials, the Sarus is gradually shifting from cooked food to the more suitable diet of raw food. It is now being trained to be rehabilitated into the wild.

The Sarus became friends with Arif after he rescued the endangered bird and nursed it back to health.

However, forest officials separated the bird from Arif and sent it to the zoo when the story of their friendship made headlines.

Zoo Director Krishna Kumar Singh said: “The Sarus crane is being rehabilitated for the wild by slowly changing its habit of eating cooked food like maggi, daal, rice and khichdi to eating a raw diet that is more suitable for wild birds like cranes.”

Singh said they have so far attained 80 per cent success in helping the crane adapt to a suitable diet that includes raw grains, insects, crustaceans, spinach and water hyacinth.

Since its arrival on March 25, the Sarus crane has been living in a 40 x 25 foot enclosure.

It has been cut off from almost all human contact with a live feed beaming its images to the zoo director’s office.

“Once the bird recovers completely, it will be sent back to its true home of the wilderness,” said Singh.

The bird spent a year with Arif, so it will take more time for the officials to rehabilitate it into the forest.

The Sarus still prefers human company over wildlife and being fed by hand.

During its stay with the Amethi farmer, the crane used to accompany Arif to his fields and was accepted “like a family member”.

Last month, Arif met the bird at Kanpur Zoo and the video of their interaction had gone viral on social media.

Arif has been pleading with officials to allow him to keep the bird with him but his request has been turned down.