A fluffy ball of feathers, with a tiny hooked beak and big eyes, ever so often hoots from thick foliage after sunset.
The Owl, a nocturnal bird, has been a symbol of wisdom, of good omens and evil, in different cultures. However, it turns out that the blind beliefs of humans are hardly ever restricted to humankind.
There are several unfounded beliefs about the animal kingdom, and many humans tend to act on them, making innocent animals the victims of our superstitions.
Owls and some of their body parts have been a crucial element in the sorcery practised by many “tantrik” or black magic practitioners. Recently, three people were arrested in the Chikkaballapur district of Karnataka for trafficking of these birds.
Although owls are protected under India’s 1972 Wildlife Protection Act, some species are worth lakhs, which makes its trade extremely tempting for some unscrupulous souls.
An official with the Forest Department told the News Minute,
“Indian Eagle-Owls are said to be used for black magic practices. Depending upon the size of these owls, they sell for as high as Rs 50 lakh per owl.”
It’s not just trafficking which lands owls in grave danger; even the concrete jungle and its elements possess threats to them. So here’s a list of organizations you can contact to rescue owls in case you see them caged, trapped or stuck.
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1) Chennai: Blue Cross of India
You can call Blue Cross of India for the rescue of owls, cats, dogs, cattle etc. They request you to stay at the site till they arrive and guide them to the animal.
Call them on- +91-44-22354959 / +91-44-22300666 / +91-44-22300655
In case they don’t answer the first time, please be patient because Blue Cross claims that it gets over 150 calls a day.
2) Bengaluru: The Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre
WRRC has started a treatment and rehabilitation centre in collaboration with the Karnataka Forest Department. Once rescued, the birds will be relocated to the Bannerghatta Rehabilitation Centre which has recreated wild habitats to offer refuge to birds, small primates and reptiles etc.
Ulsoor Cross road: +91 80 2294 7307 / 7317
Richmond town: +91 80 22947307
3) Mumbai- Humane Society International:
You can contact the following people if you have queries, or find an owl being sold in Mumbai.
Owl helpline: +91 8899117773
C Samyukta for wildlife issues: +91 9000846677
4) Delhi/Agra/Vadodara: Wildlife SOS
If you happen to witness wildlife animals in distress in any of these regions, you can contact Wildlife SOS. The helpline numbers for the above regions are:
Delhi NCT: +91-9871963535
Vadodara Region in Gujarat: +91-9825011117
If you have the contact details of any additional organisations that have rescued owls and will be able to help in the future, please do mention them in the comment section.