A professor of a Mokhada college in Jawhar of Palghar district, on Wednesday rescued an injured adult Indian Eagle Owl from poachers who were planning to sell it to tantriks, who use the owl to practise black magic.
The owl is now being treated at a government vet hospital, after the professor handed it over to the forest department, Shahpur.
Prof Navnath Shingave, a professor of commerce in the Mohite College, Mokhada, was coming back home at Kochale village,when he saw the owl sitting on a piece of rock. “I was shocked to find both its eyes damaged, and the right eye was bleeding,” said Shingave. “Just then, a few tribals reached the spot and wanted the owl, as they had planned to sell it to tantriks who indulge in black magic,said Prof Shingave. I somehow managed them to give it up,and after much convincing, they agreed and left the place.
I contacted Yeshwant Dhingore, forest officer, Shahpur, who admitted the bird to a hospital. “The owl will be released in the Tungareshwar Bird Sanctuary, Vasai, shortly after it recovers from the injuries,”said Dhingore. “It’s right eye was severely damaged and was bleeding, while its left eye had mild injuries. Fortunately, the bird is responding to the treatment.”
He added, “Some tribals also kill owls for its meat.Poaching is an offence under the Wildlife Act as owl trade is also banned by the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. An adult poached owl is sold to buyers for atleast Rs 10,000 or more.”
Owls for black magic
During Diwali, tantriks sneak into forests to trap owls as they believe that owl sacrifice will bless the believers with weath and cure them of diseases and defects. Tantriks would also specify the exact kind of owls to be trapped to gullible victims. The owls are to have a certain weight and size. In tribal areas, people believe that by sacrificing owls, one can ward off evil spirits, and so much so, feathers, talons are placed in tribal made amulets. Sacrifices are done on Diwali.
Last Diwali too, seven owl chicks were recovered from such a fate
The Indian Eagle-Owl, also called the Rock Eagle-Owl or Bengal Eagle-Owl (Bubo bengalensis ), is a species of large horned owls found in the Indian subcontinent. They were earlier treated as a subspecies of the Eurasian eagle-owl. They are found in hilly and rocky scrub forests, and are usually seen in pairs.