Owl trade in India threatens to destroy this majestic bird

Posted on November 3 2010 Add Comments

1 Northern Saw-whet Owl Ross County, OH November 14, 2007 (65)Owls are the perennial creatures of the dark that have played important roles as the carriers of Gods in the Hindu mythology, but have gained popularity among this generation as the messengers of witches & wizards in the Harry Potter franchise. Unfortunately, the books revealed a newfound love among the fans of the franchise which is now fuelling illegal owl trade in India. This is a perilous situation for more than 30 species of this majestic bird, which are demanded by Indian kids for keeping as pets. And, the birds are now being culled for good luck during the Hindu festival of Diwali, which has attracted the attention of Jairam Ramesh, the Environment Minister of India.

Even grave is the fact that the killing of the owls on festivals like Diwali is deemed auspicious by a majority of Hindus. This is despite the acknowledgement of these birds being just as important as tigers for the ecosystem of the planet. The Spotted Owlet, the Barn Owl, the Rock Eagle Owl, the Jungle Owlet and the Collared Scoop Owl species are facing the biggest dangers in the festive season. Bird catchers from all over the country set their traps to capture hordes of these birds and sell them in the black market and send them to their deaths.

Reports prepared by conservationist groups cite that owls face their untimely death in the rituals of ‘black magic and sorcery driven by superstition, totems and taboos”. This is the leading reason for the booming owl trade across the country, even though the ridiculous demands of the kids to buy them as pets play their part as well. The report suggests enhanced law enforcement in this matter and implores farmers to move against the bird catchers, since the absence of owls translates into exponential increase in the number of rodents, which destroy the food crops of the farms.

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