A senior diplomat has been looking after a bird left behind by a girl fleeing Afghanistan.
Xavier Chatel, the French ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said he has been looking after the “energetic little myna”, whose name is Juji, alongside staff at his official residence, after his owner had to leave him at an airbase in the UAE.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “During the Afghan evacuation operation, a girl arrived at Al Dhafra airbase, exhausted, with an unusual possession: a bird. She had fought all the way at Kabul airport, to bring the treasured little thing with her.
“For sanitary reasons, the bird could not embark on the plane from AD to France. She cried silently.
“I was moved. I promised to take care of the bird at the French residence, feed him. She could visit him anytime and take him back. I won’t forget her look of desperate gratefulness.”
Mr Chatel said that when he finally found time to take the bird, Juji “escaped his box and made a big mess in the car”.
He also shared a video of Juji pecking at his finger as he attempted to retrieve the bird from under a car seat.
“The fierce little fellow showed me that if he survived the Kabul airport, I was no match,” he said.
“So I bought him a nice cage, fed him, took him out in the cool mornings so he could see other birds. He has a girlfriend now – a dove that visits him every day.”
Mr Chatel said that he has been attempting to teach the bird some words of French.
“But the thing is: Juji doesn’t like men,” he wrote.
“He frowned at me and looked angrily, while he giggled at females. I went on trying hopelessly my daily ‘Bonjour’ – but sure enough he wouldn’t listen.
“Or so I thought. Until one day, the (female) manager of the French residence sent me this ‘Bonjour’ that went straight to my heart.”
Mr Chatel shared a video of Juji repeating the word “bonjour” from his cage.
He added that the bird’s owner, who he called Alia, contacted him via Twitter from Paris on Tuesday.
He wrote: “She was so happy to see her bird thus cared for. She wanted me to teach him French.
“Alia, your bird has become the embassy’s mascot, but he is here for you, and if I can, I’ll take him personally to you one day. “