Stop Owl Sacrifices in India
An increase in illegal owl trade and sacrifices around Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, threatens the future of owls in India.
Superstitions and false beliefs have created a demand for owls and their body parts in ceremonial rituals during the festival. The owl body parts used include the skull, feathers, claws, heart, liver, kidney, blood, eyes, fat, beak, tears, eggshells, meat and bones. Ear tufts are considered to have the greatest magical properties.
Hundreds of owls are trapped and traded every year, even though hunting and trade in all Indian owl species is banned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Owls or their body parts are used in black magic, street performances, taxidermy, consumption, occult medicines, for capturing other birds and even their eggs used for gambling, according to TRAFFIC’s Abrar Ahmed, an expert on the Indian bird trade.
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