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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Wildbuzz: Love of little devils, turbanator to Suman’s rescue

Bollywood and cricket stars, including Harbhajan Singh and wife, Geeta, have closed ranks to lend their voice for the rescue of Suman, a six-year-old baby elephant, held illegally in Jaipur.

punjab Updated: May 19, 2018 22:35 IST
Vikram Jit Singh
Vikram Jit Singh
Hindustan Times
The rescued Indian Scops owl
The rescued Indian Scops owl(DIMPLE BEDI KAMRA)


Owls hate daylight just as humans shirk the dark. As a result, humans get to observe owls rarely and their chicks even less so because they are hidden very carefully. Much of the human imagination of owls is fuelled by ignorance and superstition. However, sometimes owl chicks are ejected from tree hideouts and left abandoned on ground, leading to their rescue. Superstitions evaporate on close interaction with abandoned owls and we find ourselves falling in love with these little devils.

One such chick of an Indian Scops owl was rescued by a college student, Aditya Sharma, from behind his house in Mohali. Sharma took the owl to Dimple Bedi Kamra, an expert wild bird nurse residing in Chandigarh, and she nurtured the young one by feeding it chicken and mashed eggs complete with shells. Her next task is to feed the owl furry stuff like rodents and poultry chicks replete with skin/feathers to ensure the owl’s natural digestion and ejection of ‘pellets’.

Kamra’s owl bears a mien of monkish mystery. Since the owl does not take feed in her house from anyone else, she had to take the owl with her to a retreat in Kullu’s charming Tirthan Valley along with her pet dog and squirrel orphan. The dog overcame his predatory instincts and fell in love with the little owl, landing a big, wet tongue on the bird’s bottoms every now and then, though, we don’t quite know if the sagely avian prefers those lascivious licks!

Enroute to Tirthan, Kamra stopped at her favourite haunt, ‘Himshikar’ dhaba near Bilaspur. While the dhaba owner is used to Kamra’s companions such as dogs and squirrels, the owl was a quixotic novelty, as if an alien from the movie, ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’. The feathered monk turned into a selfie celebrity at the dhaba, with customers keen to click photographs. The owl quickly perched on Kamra’s head, as if playing to the galleries and establishing just who is the Big Boss!


Suman chained and kept in illegal captivity.
Suman chained and kept in illegal captivity. ( WILDLIFE SOS )

Bollywood and cricket stars, including Harbhajan Singh and wife, Geeta, have closed ranks to lend their voice for the rescue of Suman, a six-year-old baby elephant, held illegally in Jaipur. The stars were deeply moved by a global campaign launched by Wildlife SOS to raise awareness about illegal elephant trafficking.

“Suman’s owners have isolated her from her family and are keeping her chained in a small dank room for ‘training’ using brutal techniques to break her spirit. Suman is the sister of Peanut (aged eight years), who was rescued from Moonlight Circus by Wildlife SOS in 2015. Currently their father, Bijli, the male tusker, is being rented out for festivals, weddings and processions while, the mother, Chanda, is used for rides at Amber Fort in Jaipur, as well as for breeding,” the Wildlife SOS said in a statement issued on Friday.

Actor Sidharth Malhotra visited the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura and met Peanut, who is well looked after at the Centre. Malhotra reached out to his Twitter followers, expressing outrage at the abuse and injustice faced by Peanut’s sister, Suman. After he voiced his concern, Bollywood celebrities Karan Johar, Tiger Shroff, Vivek Oberoi, Pulkit Samrat, Anushka Manchanda, Ramona Arena and Harshvardhan Rane expressed solidarity by posting on their social media accounts. Cricketers Yusuf Pathan, Yuzvendra Chahal and Harbajan Singh and wife Geeta Basra, lent support. ‘Bhajji’ tweeted from his account, ‘Harbhajan Turbanator’: “Join me in demanding justice and freedom for Suman, who was torn away from her family!’’

Heartened by the response, Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO, Wildlife SOS, declared, “We are grateful to celebrities who have expressed support and drawn attention to Suman’s plight. It is heartwarming to see celebrities using their influential status to bring about a change in our social attitudes, which can be made possible through sustained public education and awareness, and pressures on enforcement authorities.”

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First Published: May 19, 2018 22:35 IST

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