Wildlife teams to check owl sacrifice during Diwali in UP

Brown Fish-Owl.
Brown fish owl: Image courtesy: IANS

Lucknow: With just two days left for Diwali, forest officials and wildlife activists have stepped up efforts to check owl sacrifice which is rampant in Uttar Pradesh during the festival.

According to official sources, teams have been set up to patrol areas where occult practices take place.

Occultists, in particular, indulge in owl sacrifice during this time.

A letter issued by the forest department has asked all NGOs, District Magistrates and police chiefs to remain alert on smuggling of owls.

A senior forest official said: "During Diwali, the evil practice of black magic involving sacrifice of animals (particularly owls) is greatly prevalent, especially among the tribal communities living in areas along the banks of rivers. We are also sensitising people against this practice."

The owl is believed to be the vehicle of Goddess Lakshmi, the divine power symbolising wealth, fortune, power, beauty and prosperity.

Owl sacrifice takes place because people believe that it will bring prosperity and good fortune. Countrywide smuggling of owls flourishes during this season.

There are 30 owl species in India, and most of these are in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species and Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.

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