Tuesday, November 2, 2010

India's Owl Population Under Threat of Superstition

A young Indian boy with an owl

TRAFFIC, the leading group monitoring the illegal wildlife trade, has recently issued a report in which thousands of India's owls are sacrificed on "prosperous" occasions. The reason India's owls are being destroyed is due to black magic rituals. In addition to that, half of the nation's thirty owl species are caught and sold alive. The report further adds that the regular practices of sacrifices will increase around Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Also, it highlights that the killing of owls is driven by superstition and taboos. Other groups who are supporting the concern are WWF India and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Even Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh received the news. According to him, owls are important to India's ecosystems along with tigers.

I'm deeply shocked to see that such animals are being killed out of superstition, especially when it happens to be on the week of India's most auspicious holiday. Diwali is supposed to be the time of celebrating the triumph of good over evil, and not sacrificing any animal that plays a key role in the nation's ecosystem. The way I see it, this superstitious practice is the evil and should be conquered as with any element driving the illegal wildlife trade. Without owls, how will the farmers benefit when their crops become prone to destruction by rodents? I am, however, glad to see that Minister Ramesh has shown deep concern over this matter and I sure hope that some serious action will be taken in order to conquer it once and for all.

View article here

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