Owls fall victim to superstitious beliefs
New Delhi: Sixteen species of owls have been identified and are routinely trafficked in the illegal wildlife trade in India, WWF India said, noting that birds are victims of superstitious beliefs and rituals.
To raise awareness of these owl species and assist in their identification, TRAFFIC and WWF-India have created an informative poster titled “Endangered by Illegal Wildlife Trade: Owls of India”.
TRAFFIC, an organization that ensures that wildlife trade does not pose a threat to nature conservation, has identified 16 species of owls that are commonly trafficked in the illegal species trade. wild in India.
“Poaching and trafficking of owls in India has become a lucrative illicit trade resting on the wings of superstition,” said Dr Saket Badola, head of the Indian bureau of TRAFFIC.
He said: “The lack of awareness about owls in the illegal wildlife trade and the limited ability of law enforcement agencies to identify them has made this illegal activity difficult to detect or stop. We hope our new signage will help fill this enforcement gap. “
“Owls in India are victims of superstitious beliefs and rituals often promoted among the unsuspecting public by local mystical practitioners,” the organizations said in an official statement. They said that of the approximately 250 species of owls found around the world, around 36 are found in India.
All owl species in India are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which makes poaching, trade or any other form of exploitation a punishable offense. They are also listed in Appendix II of CITES, thus tightly regulating their international trade.
Despite legal restrictions, each year hundreds of birds are sacrificed for mystical rituals and practices related to superstition, totem poles and taboos across the country, and this usually culminates around the Diwali festival, the said. WWF India.
Especially in small towns and villages, the use of owl parts such as skull, feathers, ears, claws, heart, liver, kidneys, blood, eyes, fat, beak, tears, eggshells, meat and bones are prescribed for ceremonies. pujas and rituals.