Calls to Reunite Sarus Crane With Rescuer Grow Louder in India

Sarus Bird

The Indian public is calling for the release of a Sarus crane from a zoo, and reuniting it with the farmer who saved it from injury and rehabilitated it. The crane’s caretaker, Arif Gurjar, gained social media fame for his close bond with the 5-foot-tall bird. However, wildlife officials confiscated the crane and placed it in a cage at a zoo in Kanpur. This separation has sparked public outcry and led to online petitions on, demanding the crane’s release and return to Gurjar.

Arif Gurjar gained global attention and became a social media sensation due to his special bond with the 5-foot-tall Sarus crane, which he rescued and nursed back to health in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

In March 2022, Arif Gurjar found a crimson-throated Sarus crane lying in a field with a broken leg, shivering and bleeding. He took the injured bird home and, using traditional medicine, nursed it back to health in just six weeks before releasing it back into the wild.

Gurjar expected the Sarus crane to fly away once it had healed, but the bird had other plans. It decided to stay close to its rescuer and new friend.


“When I found the injured bird, I nursed it back to health and fulfilled my duty as a human being,” said 30-year-old Gurjar in an interview with VOA. “To my surprise, it didn’t fly away after it recovered. Instead, it chose to stay close to me, and our emotional bond grew. We became good friends.”

One of the videos that went viral online showed the pair flying together as Gurjar rode his motorcycle. The Sarus crane, which Gurjar fondly calls “Sarus,” also ate from his hands, sharing his traditional Indian meals.

Despite Sarus regularly visiting nearby fields and bodies of water, it still flew back to Gurjar’s house in Mandkha village every afternoon. However, the bond between the two friends was broken when Indian wildlife authorities confiscated the crane on March 21. Gurjar was charged under India’s Wildlife Protection Act for keeping an endangered bird at home, as the Sarus crane is classified as a vulnerable species and cannot be kept as a pet. On April 11, Gurjar was finally allowed to visit Sarus in the zoo where it was confined.

A video showing Gurjar’s emotional reunion with Sarus at the zoo has deeply affected viewers. The video captures Sarus flapping its wings and attempting to rush out of the cage to reunite with Gurjar. During his brief visit, Gurjar stood outside Sarus’ cage and was able to see the bird for only five minutes. Gurjar recounted that before Sarus was confiscated, the bird would run to him with joy and they would embrace. However, at the zoo, Sarus tried to come towards him, but was stopped by the cage’s wall. Gurjar expressed his pain at seeing Sarus confined and without freedom. Recently, Varun Gandhi, a member of Parliament from India’s ruling party, called for the crane’s release from the zoo.

The member of Parliament from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Varun Gandhi, tweeted in Hindi last week, calling for the release of the Sarus crane from the zoo cage. He noted the genuine love between the bird and Arif and how their meeting at the zoo revealed the purity and sincerity of their bond. Gandhi emphasized that the beautiful bird was born to fly freely and should not be confined in a cage. He also shared the video of the bird jumping around excitedly in the cage after seeing Gurjar.