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Law enforcement agencies warned against trading and poaching of owls during Diwali

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New Delhi [India], Oct 20 (ANI): A wildlife trade monitoring network has warned law enforcement agencies regarding owl trading and poaching taking place in India, which is expected to be at its peak during Diwali.

TRAFFIC India, a wildlife trade monitoring network, has sent a letter to the probe agencies claiming that the issue has been affecting the very survival of owls in the country.

"Every year as Diwali celebrations peak in India so does the demand of owls that are illegally trapped and sacrificed for use in tantric rituals during the festival of lights. It is estimated that thousands of almost 15 species of owls found in the country are trapped and sacrificed during this fateful time," TRAFFIC India head Saket Badola stated in his letter sent to several states last week.

In the letter, Badola has also claimed that the occult practitioners drive consumer demand by touting the use of owl parts for purposes ranging from curing various illnesses to fighting the effects of evil spirits. "The birds are poached for their bones, skulls, feathers, meat, and blood, which are then used in talismans, black magic, and traditional medicine."

"Owls, especially with cars (or tolls) are thought to possess the greatest magical powers, and Diwali is claimed to be the most auspicious time for making owl sacrifices. TRAFFIC strongly urges you to exercise caution, remain vigilant about such practices and take necessary and timely law enforcement actions to curb this menace," the letter stated.

The states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, and even Delhi have been warned, asking them to book such poachers under appropriate sections of law.

TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, is the leading non-governmental organisation working globally on the trade of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity and sustainable development.

The hunting and trading of owl species are banned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 of India. Though there is no data on the owl, it is estimated that every year almost 75,000 owls are smuggled and killed in India.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, October 20 2019. 16:49 IST