In Arunachal Pradesh, the story of an incredible friendship between a young tribal boy, Terde Youmcha, and a bear cub, Luba, he rescued and nurtured for nine months came to a tearful end on Wednesday, when the animal was handed over to Arunachal Pradesh Forest department.
Luba, who has been domesticated, was later handed over to the authorities at Itanagar zoo to spend the rest of her life in a cage.
There is, however, one solace. For the foreseeable future, Mr Youmcha would also be Itanagar where he has started attending college. He is happy that would be able to see his "sister" more often than he would have been able to if he was still in his native Aalo - some 300 km north of the state capital.
Terde Youmcha had bought the bear cub from an illegal wildlife trader when she was just a month old. "He wanted to save her life, and carried her home in his lap. She was so small she fit in the palm of his hand," a district officer told NDTV.
Though Mr Youmcha always intended to give Luba away, they soon became friends. For the next nine months, the young boy used all his school stipend and money given by his parents to look after the bear cub.
According to locals, Luba also became popular in the village - a sight for onlookers and an entertainer, who loved bathing in her aluminium tub and playing with children. Many people came to visit her bearing gifts, and she loved the attention, the locals said.
Vidoes of Luba drinking milk in a yellow dress and playing with Terde Youmcha have also won the internet.
Locals added that unlike wild bears, Luba was brought up on a vegetarian diet, and she prefers pulses, rice, cabbage, maize, tomato, sugarcane, milk and fruits - a diet the zoo officials may try to change.
Take care of Luba, Mr Youmcha had said while requesting authorities that he be allowed freely to meet her at the Itanagar zoo. The zoo authorities are yet to confirm if he'd be granted the wish.